Apple and DJI are pioneering companies that manage to consistently stand head and shoulders above their competitors.
Few people would argue with that statement.
But, what common denominators do these companies share that could provide clues to their incredible success?
Well, let’s take a look...
1. Innovative technology
Apple is synonymous with cutting-edge and user-friendly technology. The iPad, iPhone and MacBook are just some examples of Apple’s amazing ability to create innovative and popular products.
DJI is doing something very similar with drones. Already, they sell more consumer drones around the world than any other company. How do they manage this? Through being on the forefront of drone technology, while having a keen understanding of consumers wants and needs.
2. Cool design
No one competes with Apple’s impressive product designs that extend right down to the boxes and power cables. Part of their massive commercial success is due to this one factor alone.
DJI appears to have been influenced from Apple on this. Their Phantom quadcopter range is iconic, memorable and definitely cool. Interestingly, their design appears to have become a default quadcopter look, that several other companies are now emulating. Then there is the DJI Inspire 1. Another distinctive and visually-appealing drone.
3. Killer branding
With a world-leading market capitalization of over $700 billion, you can be sure that Apple knows a thing or two about branding. It starts with their famous logo, but extends through everything they do - including their physical stores and websites.
DJI has seen colossal growth in the last few years. To get so big, so quickly, they seem to have learned from Apple about great branding. They have a simple but catchy logo, and an engaging strapline: “The Future of Possible.” Their clean, video-rich website is also comparable to Apple’s own site.
4. Loyal customers
Without customers, new ideas and products (however good) can quickly vanish into the ether. One thing we can be 100% sure of: Apple has incredibly loyal customers. Many of their customers are so passionate about Apple that they choose to buy almost all of their newly-released products. You may be one of these people.
DJI is rapidly gaining similar customer dedication. They’ve managed to make owning and flying drones both exciting and rewarding. DJI drone owners love to learn, share and be part of the DJI drone community. Of course, the quality of their products is the key reason why customers buy them in the first place - and why they continue to stick with DJI for future purchases and upgrades.
5. A head start
While not all Apple products have been completely original, they have all been given the “Apple-touch” that has set a benchmark for other companies to follow. A perfect example is the iPad, which quickly became a global success after its release. Competitors found themselves having to play catch-up.
DJI was founded by Frank Wang in 2006. In just 9 years, the Chinese company has taken the world by storm. Their focus on civilian drones has given them tremendous momentum. They’ve had the right products, at the right time. Other companies realise this of course, and are now jumping on the bandwagon (GoPro is a recent example).
Apple and DJI definitely have a lot in common, and maybe one day we may even see a collaboration between the two companies.
By FlightBots.com - The Home of Friendly Drones
One point needs a bit more stressing, IMHO.
This is the idea of a LEADER who has a vision and is willing to take years or decades of RISK to achieve their goals and dreams.
This is the Musk thing - Tesla and SpaceX would not exist if he wasn't determined and was not ready to spend his life (energy, time, money) making it so.
In the USA we have long lamented the tendency of Wall Street and now Silicon Valley to look for "exit strategy" and to "cash in with an IPO" etc - and always try to satisfy the shareholders with profits now or soon.
I think German, Japanese and now a number of other Asian companies have a longer term view and often the product itselfs - more than the $$$ - becomes the goal.
Think about it. Frank Wang could retire right now with about 5 billion dollars but he won't. Why? Because he's building something.
In all fairness we do have a lot of Americans like that also - Bezos as well as Musk (American now) and others.
But, yeah, I think trying to build a multi-generational company and foregoing profits and riches now is a key factor - as well as the personality and driving force of certain leaders. It's not a spare time endeavor that you can trust to the team or a board of directors.
I am calling total 100% BS on your 100 number. That said I do not know if they make a profit or loss as noone knows their costs but them.Their margins have to be slim enough even on their volumes with the kit they deliver. And they employ 100s of engineers.The r&d costs have to be significant when you develop your own closed technology. No change in design? That barely dignifies a reply. Are you even aware of the technology they have in the camera, gimbal, HD PPV, ESCs etc from P2 to P3. And what do you mean by vapor wear? I own no DJI products but you would need to be blinkered to think there was no merits to a Phantom 3 now versus the alternatives, all of which cost more. Vapor implies no substance, maybe something more aptly applied to your posts!
Yes the $800-1300 P3 is impossible to ignore now. Clearly I will now have to buy a P3 and paint it and accessorize it so that people do not think it is a Phantom. I am not sure how anyone can easily compete in the small quad market now, for aerial imagery at least. That is one huge difference between Apple and DJI. Apple are not selling at cost to take over a market.They always build huge margin into their products.
Interesting that the new $800.00 Phantom 3 Standard with built in 3 axis gimbal and 2.7K camera came out this quick.
This is a very hard combo to pass up with extremely good capability for the price.
I think this will be a huge seller for DJI and it has perfect market placement.
A decent GoPro and 3 axis gimbal cost more than that let alone including the quadcopter and RC system.
And from what I have heard lately the DJI Phantom 3 camera performs at least as well as a GoPro if not better.
Interesting times, DJI is definitely aggressively setting the bar for the entry affordable video quadcopter systems.
Ninety percent or more of the people who want to do this would likely be satisfied with this quad.
I agree with your appraisal, the DJI's are actually simple to take out of the box and fly successfully with a minimum of effort.
For some time 3DR has been claiming that capability but as you pointed out their reality has been less successful.
And much of the problems not related to the increased capability.
I do think that with the Solo 3DR is finally getting into that territory, it really is simpler to set up and use than any previous 3DR vehicle.
But DJI has been doing that for some time and they are now at the point of doing so very reliably.
They are also, by far and away the number one seller.
There probably is a correlation.
Simpler is usually better.
And reliable is always better.
DIYDrones and 3DR have always been pretty bleeding edge and nothing is easy at the bleeding edge.
But now, finally, we are starting to catch up and when we do get to simple operation and high reliability, we will be in front of everybody else.
And, from the work I have seen recently that is real soon now.
I do think the Phantom 3 with camera and gimbal represent an excellent choice for many people who want to take videos with the least hassle and the shortest learning curve.
But the Solo, even though it costs more seems like it may soon be able to offer capability and even reliability that justifies it's cost.
We will see.