The Infinite Game

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

I read The Infinite Game a few years ago, and it really stuck with me in ways I didn't necessarily expect at the time. I won't summarize the whole book here, but one of the core ideas is that the game you're playing in business is not the product, it's what that product is doing for people. For example, a company who made commuter trains in the 1800s wasn't a train company, they were a company devoting to getting people where they needed to be. As trains became less common for commuters, a company playing "the infinite game" would be able to shift to cars or bikes or whatever, rather than hitch their wagon to the train until they went out of business.

To bring it back to Apple, as I must, this is why Apple was able to make the iPhone that completely decimated their iPod business, even though the iPad was massive in 2007.

The reason this resonates with me is in how I think of myself in this tech community we all share. In the past I've thought of myself as "the Apple Watch guy" or "the iPad guy" but those were too restrictive, and they made me feel like I had some loyalty to those products that I needed to maintain. After all, how could I be "the iPad guy" if I was using a Mac?

I still love the Apple Watch and I still use the iPad for a ton of stuff (like writing this post), but I don't see either of those things defining me anymore. It's not that they're bad, it's that they're not what I'm here for.

If you asked me what my purpose is with this blog and my YouTube channel, I'd say that my "game" is helping people understand how the technology in their lives works, and how they can get the most out of it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I want you to have a better computer experience 😏

With this lens, I feel much more free to use a Mac for the things a Mac is great for, or to gush about some Android things I love…this is all about the same thing: helping people understand technology better, and getting more out of it.

Ultimately, I feel better seeing myself as someone looking out for the best stuff out there and sharing it with as many people as possible.