different colored chess pieceInc. recently posted the article, “Tim Cook’s 5-Word Response to Facebook Is Brutal and Brilliant at the Same Time.” On Kara Swisher’s podcast, Cook was asked about how Apple’s upcoming privacy changes will affect Facebook. Cook said, “I’m not focused on Facebook.”

Here’s what Tim Cook is up to. He’s following the discipline of Category Design, what Steve Jobs did instinctively to solve problems his customers either didn’t know they had or didn’t know the new solution. A master category designer, Jobs wasn’t concerned with what his customers wanted. He had a sixth sense about the huge problem he could solve with a brilliant solution—over and over again. Cook, not a natural category designer, has to work at it, yet this statement indicates that he’s on track.

This is “different” not “better” (remember “Think Different”?). And as such, since you are designing an entirely new category, your competition is made up of the companies that may come into your space after the fact, after you have designed and developed the category. Because you conditioned the marketplace to the problem and your solution, and it sees your product and solution as THE solution to the problem you made them so aware of, they crown you the category king. The “competition” then are also-rans.

Zuckerberg designed his own category and made Facebook a category king. What Tim Cook is saying is that if Facebook is trying to compete with Apple in any way, shape or form, then they are an also-ran. And, not worth focusing on.