Published by Taylor Financial Group
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” –Apple’s “Think Different” Commercial, 1997
With the much-anticipated release of the new iPhone X right around the corner, we are reminded of the many lessons that Apple, a technology powerhouse, has taught us about business practices and innovation. And Steve Jobs was the brains of it all. Even though Jobs is no longer with us, Apple continues to apply the same principles and imagination upon which Jobs cofounded the company way back in 1976. Think about it… Jobs had such intense imagination and vision that he was able to create Apple, the company and brand we know so well today, out of an idea that started in his parents’ garage! We can all learn a lot from Jobs, but there are three lessons in particular that we believe can be useful to anyone – in business and in life.
In 1997, Apple was in the midst of producing a bunch of different computers and products. The company was struggling and Jobs had only just returned after having resigned 12 years earlier in 1985. Jobs was not impressed at all with everything Apple was trying to do. In fact, he was allegedly so frustrated that he brought a product review meeting to a complete halt and demanded that they create only four new products focused on the consumer and the professional, for desktop use and portable use. Jobs insisted that all other products be cancelled, saying that “deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” This decision to focus on only four new products was ultimately what saved Apple from going under.
If there’s one thing Jobs was good at, it was focusing. But that skill was closely accompanied by his ability to simplify things. He was able to look at something – whether a product, a process, or a situation – and figure out what should be eliminated. Jobs truly had a love for simplicity and he strove to attain it at every level. For instance, when Jobs learned of Xerox’s invention of a computer that came with a mouse, he immediately thought of ways Apple could make the design more user-friendly and instinctive. This included taking Xerox’s three-button mouse design with a cost of $300 and making it a single-button mouse that would only cost $15 – less complicated and less expensive.
That was only the beginning. Jobs laid the foundation for simplicity at Apple, which continues today. The iPod was the simplified way to access music online – no more downloading music to your computer and burning songs to a CD. And the iPhone was the simplified mobile phone, making it easier for users to navigate features. It has undergone makeover after makeover, all in an attempt to simplify life for the user. While it once required a passcode to unlock the phone, that was eventually replaced by a fingerprint, and, now, with the new iPhone X, it will be replaced with face ID. Yes, it will recognize your face! Crazy, but simple.
Making it About the Product
In business, many people tend to focus so much on profit that they forget about the product. Jobs never made that mistake. In fact, he was so focused on making the product great, that the original Macintosh ended up costing way too much. It was a major fail in terms of profit, and was the reason Jobs was ousted from Apple (before returning 12 years later). Nonetheless, the Macintosh was revolutionary and changed the entire computer industry. So, in terms of product, it was a big win for Jobs. And that’s all he cared about.
Needless to say, Jobs thought that he was capable of changing the world… and he did! What an inspiration! We can all learn something from Jobs. Our team at Taylor Financial Group recently discussed some of Jobs’ lessons during one of our team meetings because we want to understand how these lessons can help us grow as a team, and help us provide the best possible service to our clients. After all, the client experience is our product. And we want to make it the greatest it can be!
If you have any questions or want to give us feedback on how we can make the client experience better, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.
Harvard Business Review, The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs, April 2012
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