Archives for posts with tag: Apple

Sad to hear that the world has lost one of its most important innovators, Steve Jobs. It’s difficult to tally the impacts he had on our lives, but I for one am a bit irked by the comparisons that are being made regarding Jobs and Thomas Edison.

The more I read about Edison and his jealous battles with a true genius, Nikolai Tesla, the more I think Edison was the lesser inventor, and almost certainly the lesser man.

Granted, he is credited with perfecting the incandescent light (and mass producing it), the motion picture camera, the stock ticker, the sound recording phonograph, and Direct Current power distribution.

But DC power was deeply flawed by comparison to Alternating Current – invented by Tesla – who also brought forth the AC induction motor, X Ray tubes, wireless energy transmission, radio, robotics, spark plugs, concepts for electric vehicles, and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

Fortunately for us, Jobs’ genius was recognized during his lifetime, after it appeared all might be lost with Apple Computer in the 1990’s including a personal fave – the Newton, which was reborn a few times and finally ended up the iPad. Jobs’ string of brilliant products and industry changing concepts blew the doors off every other company, and executive, in America.

The best thing about Jobs was to him, technology products – which were beige and boring when dominated by the IBM/Microsoft team – could be remade to be beautiful, pleasurable, and fun. Through it all, Steve Jobs had a Walt Disney quality – creating things that make us happy.

~Christopher Smith

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In a rather brilliant Harvard Business Review article “Steve Jobs and the Eureka Myth, Adrian Slywotzky argues that there’s a gap between the founder’s legend of Apple ( “…a small bunch of geniuses that “Think Different”) and the reality of how effin’ hard Apple designers work to make their products.

Here’s the table of Myth vs.  Reality that Slywotzky uses:

eureka jobs.jpg

He says: “Apple would love us to believe it’s all “Eureka.” But Apple produces 10 pixel-perfect prototypes for each feature. They compete — and are winnowed down to three, then one, resulting in a highly evolved winner. Because Apple knows the more you compete inside, the less you’ll have to compete outside.”

I’ve written here about the Founder’s Legends that breathe life into the cultures of Nike, Patagonia, HP and Ann Sloane. I am a big believer in this valuable piece of storytelling.

But is the Founders Legend supposed to be absolutely factual?

Hello? It’s a legend…

But that’s not the point of the Founders Legend. The Legend is inspirational, aspirational, and motivational.

But let’s be clear: your legend won’t make you competitive.

“The glitter you see [as Apple launches its ‘miracle’ products] is not the explanation; look carefully, and the inspiration/perspiration ratio is where it should be. Under Jobs’ leadership, Apple has done 10 times the amount of relevant homework of most companies — internal competitions, supply chain training, endless deal-making, endless recruiting, training, and generating and sustaining employee excitement that you just can’t fake. If others emulated that, all of that, their results would be a lot more like Apple’s. And our economy would start really humming again.”

The lesson here is, build a great legend. But what you say is only a small part of your success. You’ll have to work your ass off to make anyone notice you in the first place.

“…That, my friends, is the power of storytelling in action.”

And so Brandon Yanofsky turns a blog post from a laundry list of “remember the time when…” to “Here’s what it all means:”

This blog post is simply terrific, and so simply lays out the fundamntals of good storytelling as a CORPORATE IMPERATIVE-

  • The Protagonist Leads the Way
  • Your Antagonist is Their Antagonist
  • The Protagonist Must be on the Move
  • No Plot, Big Problem
  • The Moral of the Story Is…

And this wonderful little biscuit is fished with a cherry on top, courtesy of Apple.

~Christopher Smith