Those who get what made Steve Jobs tick understand his devotion to the customer experience.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it was his highest priority — and it went far beyond the products.
Steve believed that everything a customer sees, feels or touches is an opportunity to connect them more deeply to the brand. Absolutely everything. When he reviewed a piece that would run in a magazine, for example, he cared as much about the quality of the paper as he did the message of the ad.
Even if it was something that didn’t register with a customer consciously, he knew it was having an effect.
In all my advertising life, I’d never seen the CEO of a major company focus on so many aspects of the customer experience — from ads to packaging to retail design to tech support.
His technique was pretty darn simple: he put himself in the customer’s shoes. More ▸
Yesterday, the authors of Becoming Steve Jobs, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, had a little sit-down at the Soho Apple Store — with surprise guest host John Gruber.
It was a rare opportunity to get a sense of the authors’ personalities and motivations — since we normally hear of such things only through articles written by people who color the facts with their own point of view.
Kudos to Gruber for asking some probing questions and making the event run smoothly.
The truth is, any book about Steve Jobs will have a polarizing effect similar to the one generated by Steve himself. So now we have the battle of the biographies. It’s Becoming Steve Jobs (Schlender and Tetzeli) vs. Steve Jobs (Isaacson).
A few observations:
First, I love the title Becoming Steve Jobs. A book title, like the headline of an ad, is hugely important, and this one so perfectly captures the concept. Steve accomplished what he did only because of the journey that brought him back to Apple in 1997.
Few will remember at this point, but the original title for Isaacson’s book as announced was iSteve. What a horribly cute title that would have been for a life so important. More ▸
We don’t like to make hot-headed remarks about Apple new-product events around these parts. Better to let things sink in for a while.
Okay, time’s up.
A few random comments about yesterday’s Apple Watch and MacBook event.
Glitch-free and a pleasure to watch. With the accompanying tweet-cast, Apple has become quite spiffy with these things. My only issue with it was…
I couldn’t help but wince while reading some of the pre-event tweets. Steve Jobs hated any writing that sounded like marketing-speak, but such inhibitions seemed to have melted way here. It was a mix of trying to be cool (Getting psyched backstage listening to I Lived by @OneRepublic), trying to be clever (Please make sure your seat is in an upright position. It’s almost time for takeoff.) and sounding like an ad (People grab their seats before the keynote grabs their attention). More ▸
Sometimes I am astounded by the analytical prowess of technology journalists.
The Apple Watch is known to be shipping in April. Apple just placed a 12-page ad for the watch in Vogue. And yesterday the invitation went out for a March event titled “Spring Forward” — which is the least cryptic invitation in the history of Apple events.
I guess that was enough to make Fortune go out on a limb.
Subhead: Is this the Apple Watch we’ve all been waiting for?
First paragraph:Apple sent out a media invitation Thursday inviting journalists to [sic] March 9 event, leading to much speculation that it could be when the tech company reveals its much anticipated Apple Watch.
Ah, okay. Thanks, Fortune. I get it now.
But enough of that. We like to talk about marketing here, so let’s talk about that 12-pager in Vogue. More ▸
I like Luke. However, I do think this is a pointless exercise. So many things have changed in the three years since Steve’s passing, it’s hard to make these judgments. And then there’s the fact that Steve himself presided over a number of Apple low points. So the idea that he would frown upon today’s Apple — which is doing well in so many big ways — is quite a leap.
Are these seven things really worthy of Steve’s “hate”? More ▸
I woke up yesterday to a Fortune article by Philip Elmer-DeWitt with this opening thought: “Apple was doomed at the start of the year. Now it can do no wrong. What the hell happened?”
Funny how all that talk of doom dissipated overnight when Apple unveiled iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch and Apple Pay. Now iPhone sales are through the roof. Samsung profits are plummeting. AAPL stock is in record territory. And Wall Street analysts continue to raise their target prices.
But Philip isn’t entirely correct. Refusing to accept defeat, a small band of rebels has fled to the hills, from where they still lob an occasional grenade in Apple’s direction.
For sheer entertainment value, let us marvel at two recent articles. More ▸
Who the heck do I think I am? I’m a creative director who’s had more than a few adventures in technology marketing, including branding, product naming and strategy. I have a long history with Apple and NeXT — where I took a blood oath to uphold the principles of simplicity.
Insanely Simple mail list
Currently, I have talks scheduled in these places.
(Public events are indicated by live links.)
15 April: Oslo, Norway
23 April: Stockholm, Sweden
28 April: London, UK
05 June: Traverse City, MI
24 July: Colombo, Sri Lanka