Here are some other Steve Jobs principles that served me well:
_Steve Jobs understood something that a lot of companies try to do, but are rarely successful at. The more he advanced, the simpler his products became. In some instances, it's less about the product and more about the user.
For Steve, nothing is wasted, nothing is unnecessary. It doesn't happen by cramming in more, it happens through creativity and innovation, with a relentless pursuit of perfection. It means thinking through everything with the laser-focused goal of making it intuitive to the user.
Every leader and every manager wants his or her people to work together; all pulling in the same direction, supporting each other, everybody pitching in to do their part in achieving the goal of the group.
Steve would challenge his team to come up with completely fresh, original ideas. He had scoured the halls of Apple and elsewhere for people with the courage to be different, to be unconventional, to go beyond.
Although he operates from the gut level when hiring, he's also very thorough.
In searching for talent, you must not be put off by first impressions. You must find the real person, sometimes discovering a pirate where you least expected.
Most corporations acknowledge employees by holding a little celebration for birthdays, employment anniversaries and so on. But for a product-centric company like Apple, celebrations, rewards and recognitions are focused around the company's stars: its talent and its products.
Steve truly cherishes his people. It's not just that he knows he couldn't be doing all these great things without them: He lets his people know he knows. The lengths Steve goes to shower recognition, appreciation and reward on his people often left others in awe.
_ The Final chapter for the book.
In the words of Steve Jobs a reflection on what he hoped his legacy would be.
My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. Everything else was secondary. Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products. But the products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It’s a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything: the people you hire, who gets promoted, what you discuss in meetings.
Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.
Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place. There are a lot of people innovating, and that’s not the main distinction of my career. The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves. In fact some of the best people working on the original Mac were poets and musicians on the side. In the seventies computers became a way for people to express their creativity. Great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were also great at science. Michelangelo knew a lot about how to quarry stone, not just how to be a sculptor.
People pay us to integrate things for them, because they don’t have the time to think about this stuff 24/7. If you have an extreme passion for producing great products, it pushes you to be integrated, to connect your hardware and your software and content management. You want to break new ground, so you have to do it yourself. If you want to allow your products to be open to other hardware or software, you have to give up some of your vision.
At different times in the past, there were companies that exemplified Silicon Valley. It was Hewlett- Packard for a long time. Then, in the semiconductor era, it was Fairchild and Intel. I think that it was Apple for a while, and then that faded. And then today, I think it’s Apple and Google—and a little more so Apple. I think Apple has stood the test of time. It’s been around for a while, but it’s still at the cutting edge of what’s going on.
It’s easy to throw stones at Microsoft. They’ve clearly fallen from their dominance. They’ve become mostly irrelevant. And yet I appreciate what they did and how hard it was. They were very good at the business side of things. They were never as ambitious product-wise as they should have been. Bill likes to portray himself as a man of the product, but he’s really not. He’s a businessperson. Winning business was more important than making great products. He ended up the wealthiest guy around, and if that was his goal, then he achieved it. But it’s never been my goal, and I wonder, in the end, if it was his goal. I admire him for the company he built—it’s impressive—and I enjoyed working with him. He’s bright and actually has a good sense of humor. But Microsoft never had the humanities and liberal arts in its DNA. Even when they saw the Mac, they couldn’t copy it well. They totally didn’t get it.
I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company. John Akers at IBM was a smart, eloquent, fantastic salesperson, but he didn’t know anything about product. The same thing happened at Xerox. When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off. It happened at Apple when Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when Ballmer took over at Microsoft. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it.
I hate it when people call themselves “entrepreneurs” when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business. That’s how you really make a contribution and add to the legacy of those who went before. You build a company that will still stand for something a generation or two from now. That’s what Walt Disney did, and Hewlett and Packard, and the people who built Intel. They created a company to last, not just to make money. That’s what I want Apple to be.
I don’t think I run roughshod over people, but if something sucks, I tell people to their face. It’s my job to be honest. I know what I’m talking about, and I usually turn out to be right. That’s the culture I tried to create. We are brutally honest with each other, and anyone can tell me they think I am full of shit and I can tell them the same. And we’ve had some rip-roaring arguments, where we are yelling at each other, and it’s some of the best times I’ve ever had. I feel totally comfortable saying “Ron, that store looks like shit” in front of everyone else. Or I might say “God, we really fucked up the engineering on this” in front of the person that’s responsible. That’s the ante for being in the room: You’ve got to be able to be super honest. Maybe there’s a better way, a gentlemen’s club where we all wear ties and speak in this Brahmin language and velvet code-words, but I don’t know that way, because I am middle class from California.
I was hard on people sometimes, probably harder than I needed to be. I remember the time when Reed was six years old, coming home, and I had just fired somebody that day, and I imagined what it was like for that person to tell his family and his young son that he had lost his job. It was hard. But somebody’s got to do it. I figured that it was always my job to make sure that the team was excellent, and if I didn’t do it, nobody was going to do it.
You always have to keep pushing to innovate. Dylan could have sung protest songs forever and probably made a lot of money, but he didn’t. He had to move on, and when he did, by going electric in 1965, he alienated a lot of people. His 1966 Europe tour was his greatest. He would come on and do a set of acoustic guitar, and the audiences loved him. Then he brought out what became The Band, and they would all do an electric set, and the audience sometimes booed. There was one point where he was about to sing “Like a Rolling Stone” and someone from the audience yells “Judas!” And Dylan then says, “Play it fucking loud!” And they did. The Beatles were the same way. They kept evolving, moving, refining their art. That’s what I’ve always tried to do—keep moving. Otherwise, as Dylan says, if you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.
What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us. I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It’s about trying to express something in the only way that most of us know how—because we can’t write Bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays. We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what has driven me.
One sunny afternoon, when he wasn’t feeling well, Jobs sat in the garden behind his house and reflected on death. He talked about his experiences in India almost four decades earlier, his study of Buddhism, and his views on reincarnation and spiritual transcendence. “I’m about fifty-fifty on believing in God,” he said. “For most of my life, I’ve felt that there must be more to our existence than meets the eye.”
He admitted that, as he faced death, he might be overestimating the odds out of a desire to believe in an afterlife. “I like to think that something survives after you die,” he said. “It’s strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures.”
He fell silent for a very long time. “But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch,” he said. “Click! And you’re gone.”
Then he paused again and smiled slightly. “Maybe that’s why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices.”
_Here are some other Steve Jobs principles that served me well:
_Like many others, I have been devouring books and articles about Steve Jobs ever since he passed away. My fascination with his genius has less to do with technology than creativity. I have been involved in advertising most of my adult life. To my mind, in the past 25 years no other company, not even Nike or Disney, has been as brilliantly and consistently creative as Apple. And there’s never been a better advertising mind than Steve Jobs’.
Jobs was different from many other corporate leaders in that he always knew what he wanted. When he returned to Apple after his decade-long banishment starting in the mid-80′s, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. He actually wrote some of the better lines of the famous “Think Different” manifesto ad that helped refocus the company and bring it back from the brink, and even got personally involved in the editing of the finished spot (see the rare Jobs-narrated tribute commercial, below). The bar was always raised very high for his team, almost preternaturally. This tyranny of unreasonableness in demanding of those around him to leap above and beyond what they assumed was only just possible, was a reflection of his complete belief, almost a religious devotion, in explosive inspiration over process.
Jobs traveled around India in the mid-1970s for 7 months, and in the process discovered Zen. It influenced his thinking, and instilled in him a confidence to trust in his intuition when it comes to making decisions. He famously said, “You can’t ask customers what they want and then give it to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new”. Creative leadership is also about anticipating needs, and the confidence to rely on intuition to complement market and consumer understanding
Lastly, to Jobs, design was never for its own sake, but for something greater – the shaping of experiences. He thought as marketer but also as a consumer. And, from that vantage point, he understood how to simplify design and make devices part of our everyday experience, thereby enabling people more enjoyment of their complicated lives. He believed in simplicity as a means of engaging people and letting them feel close to something as overwhelming as technology. In an interview to Business Week in 1998 he said, “That’s been one of my mantras — simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
For Jobs creativity was about knowing what you want, applying intuition, and keeping it simple. And maybe his genius is in how deceptively uncomplicated it seems. Yet at the end his approach to creative leadership required raising the bar remarkably high, inspiring others to do the impossible, and an almost unwavering ability to focus.
_Never-before-seen film footage of Apple founder Steve Jobs and interviews with colleagues provide a detailed look at the technological innovator, revealing what influenced
him, how he dealt with being diagnosed with cancer and his achievements.
Release Date: 03 Nov 2011
Courtesy of PBS.
Five Steve Jobs innovations that changed the tech industry forever
_ Apple founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs has passed away after several years of battling against pancreatic cancer.
Although Jobs had been on medical leave since earlier 2011, and resigned from his role mid year, the news has shocked the tech industry.
From introducing the original Mac to the latest iPhone, Jobs has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the information technology industry – changes that have informed how other companies and entire industries do business.
But although Jobs himself has died, his impact on the tech world will never be forgotten. Here are five of his biggest innovations.
1. The Mac
This is the device that changed how everyday consumers use personal computers.
It can’t be overstated how significant the release of the Mac was in the 1980s. That period in the information technology scene represents the transition from computers being mysterious objects used by universities and rocket scientists into something personable and useful. Jobs, (along with peers including Bill Gates), transformed the perception of computers being cold and aloof to a must-have household item.
An early video of Jobs debuting the Mac to thunderous applause highlights its significance. The first powerful, useful personal computer that would set the trend for years to come.
Jobs didn’t do it alone, but the Mac transformed how we perceive and relate to desktop computers – a consumer relationship that informs business decisions to this day.
2. The iPod
Apple never takes the first step. When Jobs debuted the iPod in 2001, it wasn’t the first MP3 player on the market and it technically wasn’t even the best. But this device – which has sold hundreds of millions of units in the past decade – represents Jobs’ vision.
By releasing the iPod, Jobs proved that consumers don’t necessarily respond to technical specifications. Instead, they prefer stylish, well-designed objects that are as much of a fashion item as they are music player.
Although Jobs’ obsession with design started in the 1990s, the first iPod represents the strengthening of the relationship between technology and industrial design. Until his resignation Jobs had always been obsessed with design – how gadgets look and feel, rather than just what’s inside.
The iPod wasn’t the best MP3 player on the market – but Jobs proved that consumers don’t really care.
3. The iPhone
Before the 2007 release of the first iPhone, smartphones were barely breaking any ground. They weren’t good looking, they couldn’t browse the internet very well, and they certainly couldn’t operate any comprehensive software.
Jobs’ vision for the iPhone changed not only how smartphones operate, but also how they appear – nearly every major smartphone that is released now appears similar to the original version of the iPhone that launched just four years ago.
The genius in Jobs’ vision isn’t the phone itself, but in his recognition that the phone
was slowly becoming more of a personal computer than just a calling device. Even now experts and analysts constantly comment on how the phone is now becoming a personal computing device with more power than some laptops currently on the market.
Foresight is everything in technology – you need to be able to see where the market is heading. The iPhone was in production for years before it was actually launched, with Jobs at the helm.
Vision is everything. Part of Jobs’ skill as an entrepreneur was being able to see where the market would be four, five or 10 years ahead of time. It’s only now that smartphone makers are beginning to offer alternatives.
4. The iTunes/App Stores
Having Macs and iPods is great, but devices are nothing without the content that fills them. Two of Jobs’ most underrated innovations are the iTunes and App Stores, both of which have changed how people interact with digital music and software forever.
Think back to the year 2003. There was basically no easy way to buy music online, so most people pirated it from peer-to-peer networks. Music labels are in disarray, publishers are fretting over what to do next, and consumers see no reason why they should ever have to pay for music again.
The creation of the iTunes Store represents a fundamental shift in how we consume content, and once again, highlights Jobs’ ability to not only see where markets are going, but create entirely new ones when none exist.
Working with music labels to create an entirely new digital marketplace, Jobs created a perfectly simple way for users to buy music – just click on a song. No mess, no fuss, just clicks. And most importantly, it’s cheap. Users were given an easy alternative to support artists and get high quality tracks.
Although the App Store wasn’t necessarily filling a gap in the market like the iTunes Store, it nevertheless represents Jobs’ ability to spot a future opportunity.
Just as Jobs recognised smartphones were becoming more like computers, he also recognised these computers need software to fill them. Giving developers the freedom to create all different sorts of products and features, and then sell them, has not only created new revenue streams for Apple but – put simply – has created an entirely new industry out of thin air.
Jobs had a great eye for design, and loved to create well-built devices. But content is king, and Jobs recognised that offering customers valuable material like music, television shows, films and apps is just as big a part of the entire Apple experience.
Not a device, not a piece of content, but nevertheless technology that has changed filmmaking forever. In the 1980s Jobs bought a small graphics technology group from George Lucas that would later become Pixar, now renowned and celebrated for its high quality feature films, and for being the first company to produce a film entirely generated with computer graphics.
Jobs’ vision is obvious here. Recognising that technology would not only change consumer electronics forever, but also filmmaking, he set out on an opportunity to have a stake in that change.
Pixar’s legacy is clear, and although Jobs has had less to do with the company as time has gone on, it is nevertheless a key point in his career and represents a significant leap forward for the use of technology in cinema.
How Steve Jobs Built an army of entrepreneurs.
_ For many Australian consumers, the first thing they think about when they consider the legacy of Apple founder Steve Jobs will be sitting in the palm of their hand – the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad have become such powerful symbols of the genius of Jobs and Apple.
But what has always struck me about Jobs is the fact that he didn’t just create brilliant products. At least two of his greatest innovations could be considered to have created entire industries, or at least allowed struggling sectors to flourish.
While the iPhone and iPad are brilliant products, I have always thought that the real genius of these devices was the way Jobs and Apple created content markets that sat behind them in the form of the iTunes Store and the App Store.
Jobs realised that content is king in the digital world. It was no good building a sleek, beautifully designed device with the power of a small laptop if you couldn’t listen, watch, play and use content on it.
The way the iTunes and App Stores were set up – such that Apple gained the right to approve what was sold in them and took a 30% cut of any items sold– guaranteed the company’s devices would continue producing revenue for Apple long after that initial sale. This closed ecosystem is hated by many users, but it’s hard to deny it’s very, very smart.
But while the Apple markets may have been closed in many ways, they did open up a range of entrepreneurial possibilities for businesses that saw the opportunity to sell products to a rapidly-growing marketplace.
No more was this true than in the App Store, where hundreds of thousands of software developers – particularly those developing games – seized the chance. The bar, at least initially, was relatively low.
Armed with a developer’s kit and time, games could be created over a weekend and generating revenue the next week.
As well as the army of start-up app developers, the App Store allowed some genuinely huge businesses to be built, even here in Australia.
Rob Murray, founder of games studio Firemint, enjoyed huge success with his games, most notably Real Racing. After a few years he was able to merge with another Australian games studio (Infinite Interactive) and in July he sold his business to US giant Electronic Arts for an estimated $40 million.
A few weeks ago, Murray appeared on the BRW Young Rich list with a fortune of $24 million. Fellow app developer Andrew Lacy, who sold his development company Tapulous to Walt Disney, was valued at $20 million.
Would this have been possible had Steve Jobs not created an ingenious platform for entrepreneurship? I am not sure.
While the iPhone and the iPad will always carry Steve Jobs’ DNA, the pace of change at a company such as Apple means that updated models will arrive very quickly. Eventually, they may in fact become some other designer or CEO’s products.
But the impact of the App Store and iTunes Store will live on for much longer. Hundreds of thousands of developers have been given the chance to launch their own little businesses on this platform.
Some have made huge businesses out of this opportunity. The vast majority haven’t. But the creation of this market has allowed so many people to get a taste of entrepreneurship – who knows what great companies this could create in the future.
That’s a pretty amazing legacy to leave behind.
Seven Innovation lessons SMEs can learn from Steve Jobs
_ Steve Jobs will be remembered for creating some beautiful products, but no doubt he will also be revered as one of the greatest innovators of the past three decades.
The secret to Jobs’ success lies not only in his keen eye for design and consumer electronics, but for being able to create a vision, innovate new products within that vision, and then do it again, and again.
If nothing else, Apple under Jobs’ leadership was focused on innovation, by staying ahead of the pack and being focused on creating new ideas that no other company was working on. It’s a legacy more entrepreneurs need to keep in mind.
Last month SmartCompany hosted a webinar with Gallo Communications founder Carmine Gallo, author of the book The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs.
Gallo’s webinar – which can be viewed here – took the several hundred attendees through some of the biggest innovations they should learn from Steve Jobs’ success.
From getting more creative, to being in control of your company’s vision, here’s what SME should learn from Jobs’ impressive track record of innovation:
Do what you love
Last year when speaking with Bill Gates at an All Things Digital conference, Jobs responded to a question about how entrepreneurs can hope to have the same success he has with Apple. His response was simple – you need to have a passion for what you do, “otherwise any rational person would give up”.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” he said in his famous commencement speech in 2005. “They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
Jobs was successful because he cared about his products. He was so hands-on that he finalised key details, including the exact weight of products, to the type of wood that was to be used in Apple’s retail stores.
Only someone who cared about these products would go to such a high level of detail. But it is exactly this tendency to place such a high priority on seemingly unimportant bits and pieces that makes Jobs’ dedication to innovation a lesson all entrepreneurs must take to heart.
Put a dent in the universe
There is a reason why the iPhone continues to sell millions of products while other smartphones fail to reach that same level of success – Apple’s focus on creating something new.
Part of Jobs’ skill was being able to see where a market would be two or three years’ ahead of time, and then creating products that suit the vision of the future. Jobs is famous for saying Apple would rather gamble on its own vision rather than make “me-too” products, and SMEs need to follow the same example.
Creating something new is always better than being a copycat. If you have a good, different idea, then have the courage to follow it through. Your success will be greater than if you had created a slightly better version of something that already exists.
Plenty of entrepreneurs are intelligent thinkers, but not many are creative. You need to have the ability to perceive information and then use it to create something totally different.
Jobs once said that part of the reason the Mac was successful was that the “people working on it were musicians, and poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians, who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world”.
Successful innovators need to be creative and foster creativity within their own businesses. Don’t restrict your staff, or yourself, from bringing up new ideas – some may even work.
Sell dreams, not products
One of the biggest fundamental mistakes marketers make is that they sell the actual product, without the reasons someone should buy it.
Consider the tablet market. Plenty of Apple’s competitors have tried to sell alternatives to the iPad, including the Motorola Xoom, and the Galaxy Tab. They haven’t even come close to making a dent in Apple’s success, and here’s why: they sell a product, rather than the benefits.
Motorola, Samsung and Research In Motion praise their devices’ various bells and whistles, such as USB connectivity, a high definition screen, the ability to watch any video file you want, and so on. But none of these companies actually show you what you can do with it.
Consider Apple’s own marketing. Its advertisements show families connecting via FaceTime, children learning to write, and board members reading reports on the fly, backed by the comforting, simple sounds of an acoustic guitar or piano. The message is simple – the iPad will help you be creative, work and connect with your family, and it’s easier than what you’re doing now.
Successful innovators identify problems, tell their customers how they can fix it, and then introduce a product. Sell the idea of your product and what it can do, not just the product itself.
Say no to 1,000 things
Jobs once said that having focus is the ability to say “no”. He made that comment in 1997, less than a year after he returned to the company to help straighten things out. He lamented that Apple was heading in too many directions without much focus.
Innovators need to say no. They need to learn when a product isn’t good enough, and when you can do better. Just as an editor eliminates the worst part of a news story, an innovator’s job is to cut the worst parts of a product, and then work on the promising parts.
Create insanely great experiences
Here’s a secret – Apple’s products aren’t the most technically capable. Most smartphones on the market can do more than the iPhone, and a Windows machine will let you do much, much more than a Mac running OS X. But Apple still outsells them all.
“It just works.”
Most people want simplicity and power. They want to be able to do all sorts of things with their computers, but don’t want the hassle of figuring out how to do it. Apple products are powerful, yet simple. Their user interfaces are so easy to use that children can operate them.
Innovators must not only create good products, but recognise the experience of using them is just as important. Your product might be powerful, but if it doesn’t “just work”, then you’ve wasted your time.
Be in control of your message
One of Apple’s biggest successes this past decade has been its ability to control a cohesive message and brand. Jobs has steered the company away from a complicated, unattractive mess, to a firm that is inherently tied with attractive, simplistic design. Less is more.
And this branding reaches throughout the entire company. Consider the slides used at all of Apple’s presentations – they’re clean. Free of complicated graphs, with rarely more than one graphic appearing on the screen at a time, they deliver the same message as Apple’s products.
Controlling your company’s message is critical to good innovation. Building a brand helps cement your company in the minds of your customers, and that message needs to permeate throughout the entire business and its values.
Part of being able to innovate is also being able to create a cohesive message. Too many businesses fail because they don’t have a singular vision. Build one, and then ensure it stays intact.
The Real genius of Steve Jobs
_ When Steve Jobs launched the iPad 2 in March 2011, I felt the biggest story out of the event – other than the appearance by the ailing Jobs himself – was a little revelation about the size of Apple’s customer base.
Jobs revealed that Apple now has 200 million accounts with credit card numbers on its books, linked to its various online stores selling music, video, books and, of course, applications.
“Amazon doesn’t publish their numbers. But it’s very likely that this is the most accounts with cards anywhere on the internet,” Jobs said at the presentation.
As I have argued in the past, the real genius of Apple’s product releases over the last decade has been the way it has rolled out marketplaces to accompany its products.
Yes, the iPod was cool, but it worked at its best when you put all your music into your iTunes account and started buying new albums and songs from the iTunes store.
Yes, the iPhone was great, but it worked at its best when you loaded your phone with applications from the App Store.
Yes, the iPad was great, but it was at its best when combined with the App Store and the new iBooks store.
The clever part is that by developing these markets, Apple was able to get multiple revenue streams. It sells its hardware once, but by creating these marketplaces and taking a cut of anything sold by publishing companies, music companies and app developers, it ensured customers would keep the money pouring in.
The marketplaces also work as a brilliant barrier to competition. Even if you are tempted by a rival company’s smartphone or tablet, transferring your music, contacts and other content from your Apple device isn’t easy. And in the case of apps, if you switch to another phone brand, you’ve just taken a big loss.
Those are the reasons why Apple has been able to build a database of 200 million credit cards.
The question I have is this: What could they do with that database in the future?
Clearly, Apple will expand into selling other forms of content – newspaper subscriptions (as seen with Rupert Murdoch’s new publication The Daily) and other forms of micropayments would seem to be obvious targets.
But let’s think bigger. The new iPhone 5 is rumoured to include near field communications technology, which can allow for the phone to be used a payment device – a lot like the cashless “swipe and go” technology Visa is rolling out with some retailers.
Think about it. Before you head out for a day of shopping in the city, you log onto iTunes, transfer cash from your credit card to your Apple account and then head off.
When you go to buy something in a retail store, you simply wave your phone at a store’s terminal/chip reader and the money is transferred out of your Apple Account to the store’s banks account.
That might be a long way away. Apple might not want to go down that path at all. But its 200 million-strong customer database is just ripe for some serious monetising.
Think like Steve: Making your business like apple
_ There is much that can be learnt from the legacy of Steve Jobs.
Like Henry Ford, Jobs was someone who had a profound effect not only on his own company and industry, but everyone else’s.
He took Apple from the brink of being dismantled in 1997, to America’s second-most valuable company.
How did he do it? Of course, the iPod, iPhone, iPad and iTunes have all played a role, but what has really driven Apple’s success isn’t any individual product, but its ethos. In Apple’s case, that’s a brand of thinking that emphasises perfection, innovation and detail.
Here are a few thoughts on what can be learnt from Apple’s success that you might apply in your own business:
Make it better
MP3 players and smartphones were around before the iPod and the iPhone. Yet the iPod was an MP3 player so good it changed the face of the music industry, and, while the iPhone didn’t do much that was new, everything it did, it did better.
Think about what’s wrong with the products in your industry – why aren’t they as good as they could be? Apple have been adept at going back to the drawing board and asking, “How should this product work?”
Build it how you saw it
Steve Jobs made Apple a design-driven company, with creative people at the top and engineers underneath who push the envelope to execute their ideas.
The process of moving from the design table to the production line is often one of compromise. Make as few concessions as possible when translating your ideas into products.
Create a product ecosystem
Whether it’s an iPad or a movie download, Apple’s products connect seamlessly.
Think about the opportunities for your business to develop products that cater to customers’ needs while effortlessly connecting to each other.
Focus on profitability
Despite the fact that Netbook computers were becoming enormously popular, Apple refused to enter a space where profit margins were low. Instead, they created the MacBook Air – a premium offering much more in keeping with Apple’s designs.
Think carefully about what spaces to be in, and how each fits with your overall vision.
“Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China”. Apple has taken full advantage of China’s ability to manufacture goods for less. They’ve also sought to fully control the delivery of their products (through Apple stores) only where it’s most profitable, letting resellers do the work elsewhere.
Be the last word
Jobs was famous for his interest in ideas and his power to critique, and at Apple, his final word is gospel. It’s this fact that – from phones, to computers to content – delivers Apple its vision and direction.
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to love what you do - your time is limited. Don't waste it living someone else's life" ~ Steve Jobs RIP
Being too critical of people. Employ active listening skills and an open-door policy whenever possible. Learn just as much from his employees as he can teach them.
Thinking he can afford to lose top talent. Even Steve Jobs knew that he couldn’t do it alone and counted on an ace team of developers and executives to make the company what it is today.
Taking over from a leader like Steve Jobs is no easy task, and Tim Cook faces several challenges as he steps up to the top spot at Apple. What are the common management mistakes he should avoid?
Smooth Operator: Advice for Apple's Tim Cook
Why Apple Doesn't Need Steve Jobs - James Allworth, Max Wessel, and Rob Wheeler - Harvard Business R
A study of organizations has revealed a detailed understanding of how corporate cultures emerge. Observed that the organization's repeated tasks are the seeds from which its culture blossoms. As an organization overcomes challenges in order to complete tasks, it develops certain rules for addressing those challenges. As those rules are improved upon and prove increasingly successful at helping the company accomplish.
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