Tag Archives for Steve Jobs
Earlier today Chris Spiek, Bob Moesta, Brian Tolle, and I recorded our first live radio show. The topic was Steve Jobs, and the profoundly gifted designers and engineers at Apple and how Jobs was able to create products that revolutionized how we use technology to complete jobs to be done in our lives.
The full broadcast is below, and please forgive us for some slight format errors in the beginning. It was our first show, and as we do more — and there will be many more — we will get better.
According to Tony Schwartz, one of the four myths that companies continue to believe despite evidence to the contrary is that you cannot teach people to be creative or imaginative in their work.
That would be such a shame, considering how often one needs to use creativity and intutition in order to succeed in the workplace. Thankfully, intuition and creativity can be nurtured and taught and we can turn to Steve Jobs and the recent Walter Isaacson biography for examples.
One of the things I liked about Jobs was his persuasiveness in getting something done. He not only had ideas in his mind that he wanted to see realized, he thought of ways around them, while many around him saw the framework of the status quo and refused to do an “end around” around any of them. This was true, even in the advertising campaign for “Think Different.”
Jobs wanted several things his way. His intuition told him that they would have to bend the rules in places in order to get the desired effect — in this case, he wanted people to be inspired by genius. Several people, including Lee Clow, who was leading the Think Different campaign, took things at surface level; meaning, he came up with Think Diffferently, because gramatically, that is how you expressed the sentiment.
But Jobs wanted to create, literally, a new sentiment: he wanted Think Different because he wanted Different to be a noun, to imply it was a thing, a stage, a level of thinking that you could reach and experience. He insisted and finally got his way.
Then he wanted specific photographs of heroic leaders, geniuses, and revolutionaries, but the advertising team came back to him saying several pictures were not copyrighted for public use. That didn’t sit well with Jobs. He used his creativity to do what other people would not think of doing, or were afraid to consider. He called up the people who owned the pictures and persuaded them to release them for his adverts.
To me, that’s intuition and creativity, because:
1. Intuition tells you the answer will be yes, before anyone else knows it. Many people will use just the facts, they will look at past experience and the surface laws of reality and say, that is what it is, so be it. Not Jobs. As an intuitive, he knows what is happening and that the only way to realize the essence of what is happening is to go gunning for it.
2. There is a vision behind it. Jobs had several decades prior to this campaign to collect experiences which he then integrated into a vision — a kind of “I’ll know it when I see it” menagerie that only things like creativity and intuition could put together.
That’s great for Jobs, who was a bit of a hard-ass and very pushy and demanding when he wanted his vision realized, but what about the rest of us? Can we learn to have this kind of intuition?
Brian Tolle, a partner at Re-Wired Group, think so. He recently wrote a book about how to deal with personalities in the work place (Shortcut: Getting Through to People Who Slow You Down). When we were talking the other day about Jobs and his vision, Tolle said that he believes intuition can be learned, and that the reason most people don’t use their intuition heavily is that, perhaps, they are not taught how to access all the collective experiences they gather in life, which they can later use to integrate into their solutions thinking.
The key to intuition, says Tolle, is that you have to learn how to collect experiences, all of which can be wildly different than each other, and then you need to be given the opportunity to apply those collections of time and experience into current projects.
We’re not so sure companies govern this way. What can companies do in order build Intuition Time into workplace events?
The Re-Wired group will be hosting a radio show this Thursday, November 3, to examine this problem and several other lessons found in the Steve Jobs Biography. We will talk about the purpose of intuition and creativity, as well as the underlying essence of consumer jobs to be done. We’ll explore how Jobs was able to see into the essence of what people needed done and build a suite of products that helped consumers do things they never knew they wanted to do.
Be sure to tune into Re-Wired Radio: Steve Jobs and Demand Side Innovation for business lessons that use creativity, intuition and Jobs-to-be-done methodology.
Clay Christensen talked with Om Malik recently about the Jobs-to-be-done legacy left by Steve Jobs. People have been puzzling over how Apple got so good at design and offering what customers what they needed. They also point out that Apple did very little consumer market research. I don’t know if that is true — it’s what people say.
But Apple had to do some kind of research. My guess is that the research they did was Jobs-to-be-done. They figured out, as Christensen says, what the customer was trying to do with the product they were buying. This is called hiring a product to do a job.
Here’s how Malik (arguably one of the most thoughtful tech writers in the space) puts it:
When I asked Professor Christensen what made Jobs special, he said, “Jobs never said he understood the customer, but instead he tried to learn what they are trying to do, and that was his genius.”
Why? Because that helps focus on what matters the most: helping your customers get the job done. The professor pointed out that most people tend to focus on the wrong things, especially in the fast changing world of technology. Christensen argued that when companies make products that help make everyday stuff easier and get the job of life (or work) done, in the end customers don’t need any persuasion. That is precisely why a company like Apple can find buyers for its products so much more easily. Christensen pointed out the fundamental insight Steve Jobs had was that he focused on the “job.”
“Jobs are very stable in a sense and don’t change very much,” he said. For example, Julius Caesar used a chariot to get messages across from one city to another. Fed-Ex uses planes and trucks, he said. The job of delivering the packages hasn’t changed; just how it is done has changed.
Love, friendships, relationships, encounters. The human moments of discovery are the engines of product innovation. You don’t know what you want until you have it, and you can’t make something new until you have a human experience of discovery with something that either shows you what you lack, or presents you with something new you can build off.
You have to have that wow moment. The hyper focus on Apple these days shows us that fanatic followings result from people taking care to make things that humans really need.
Here’s a gem from Guy Kawasaki. On the weekend after Steve Jobs passed away, he lists some of the lessons he learned from the Apple founder.
He picks out consumers as being clueless. We say this all the time at The Re-Wired Group, only we think they are being asked the wrong questions, and being marketed to in ineffective ways. they are also being introduced to the wrong information, or they lack a real experience with the product being advertised.
This is why we say at the Re-Wired Group that, as consumers, advertising normally misses the point. It does not really offer an experience with a brand, because an experience with a brand is about touching, holding, using and “hiring” the product being branded.
Most branding seeks to give you a narrative about the product before you even have a chance to “hire” it, or to know what it really does for you.
It is fundamental: the use of a product is a social and emotional experience that cannot occur until the choice has actually been made.
Kawasaki shares the same sentiment, when he writes that customers rarely know what they want until they have it:
2. Customers cannot tell you what they need
“Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper”—that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can describe their desires only in terms of what they are already using—around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all that people said they wanted was a better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machine. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use—that’s what Steve and Woz did.
He almost has it, but I would stress that a consumer really doesn’t know anything about the product until after he uses it. Steve Jobs used his own product. He demonstrated every iteration the teams came out with, publicly.
But it was not all Jobs. To keep building, and to build a new game, rather than a revision on sameness, Jobs had to have people better than himself, like the best designer in the world, Jonathan Ive. People like Ive are geniuses, but if you watch this video, you realize that it’s not all a gift that makes the ability to make a product people love possible. Ive had a personal experience with a Macintosh that showed him what he was missing, and set him on a career path that gave us the iPod, the iMac and dozens of other revolutionary products.