Apple Profile in Fast Company is a Great Read

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Steve Jobs' personal brand evolution through the years.

The best corporate profile of Apple since, well, Leander Kahney’s book Inside Steve’s Brain is in the July/August 2010 issue of Fast Company, published Thursday on the magazine’s website.

Author Farhad Manjoo does a fabulous job of “capturing something that feels like magic” behind Apple and the company’s success by delving into its relationships with current partners such as San Francisco design firm Eight, Inc., by speaking with former employees and others who have watched the company for years, and coming away with 10 essential lessons for any company wanting to become the Apple of its industry.

Of course it’s well known the secret to Apple’s success — notwithstanding Steve Jobs’ personal direction — is nothing more than “discipline, focus, long-term thinking and a willingness to flout the rules that govern everybody else’s business.” And yet, as Manjoo discovers, it’s also much more.

There’s a great series of photographs showing everyday, normal people dressed in the Steve Jobs “uniform” of jeans, running shoes and long-sleeve black mock turtleneck, from which one comes away amazed that only Jobs himself doesn’t look like a total dweeb wearing it. There’s a fabulous graphic by Jeremy Caplan, the iCensus (possibly available only in the print article), depicting who matters (and who doesn’t) in Apple Nation.

And in the end we learn how clues to the future are already built in to Apple’s most current products, and why “we’ll only be able to spot them in retrospect.”

Highly recommended.