My new book, Think Simple, will be published on June 7th. While my previous book focused on the power of simplicity as practiced by Steve Jobs and Apple, the new one looks outward. I spent time with more than 40 business leaders around the world to learn how they succeed through simplicity. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll feature a few of their stories. Starting with this one…
Like many, I’ve been conscious of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for most of my life.
Based simply on what I read, heard and tasted, my image of Ben & Jerry’s was (1) really good ice cream with outrageous mix-in flavors, and (2) a company that was pretty “out there.” It seemed that Ben and Jerry were basically hippies with their own take on how a company should be run.
Remember, these were the guys who once found a new CEO by running a “Yo! I’m your new CEO!” essay contest.
Ben and Jerry made it a point to have fun, but they were also outspoken in their belief that companies should do good in the world. They now have a history of being involved in the community and taking stands on social issues—oftentimes controversial ones.
Almost 40 years after its founding, the Ben & Jerry’s brand is still crystal-clear, more than ten years after the company was purchased by the the giant Unilever. More ▸
Having worked as an ad guy in Steve Jobs’s world for many years, all I had to do was write about the things I saw going on around me.
Simplicity is a most powerful force. It was a key component of Steve’s thinking—and Apple’s every success.
That said, a lot of people who read the book or heard me speak about it, had a similar reaction. It went something like this: “Okay, so simplicity is good. Now what? How exactly do I get my company from here to there?”
Good question. And finding a good answer took a bit of work—about two years’ worth.
Coming June 7th — Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity
To write Think Simple, I sought out CEOs and business leaders around the world who have built success by leveraging the power of simplicity. I interviewed more than forty—from businesses large and small, established and emerging, famous and under-the-radar. Though all had a unique point of view, they also shared some common ideas about the essential elements of a simpler business.
In Think Simple, Ron Johnson describes how a simple mission informed every major decision in developing the worldwide network of Apple Stores. More ▸
This is the day I normally offer up some reviews on the Super Bowl commercials.
This year, I suffered a bit of writer’s block. I couldn’t find a fresh way to say things like “This one was funny,” “This one was an embarrassment” and “Damn you, advertisers, for taking away the surprise by releasing ads a week before the game.”
So I’m going to sit this one out. I’ll listen to your opinions instead.
However, I will not sit idly by! In honor of the Super Bowl I’m setting the time machine back to 1985, when Apple ran its notoriously awful Lemmings commercial on that year’s Super Bowl.
Just twelve months earlier, Apple had stunned the technology and advertising worlds with its famous 1984 commercial, and Lemmings was meant to carry on the blockbuster tradition.
Instead, it was a dud of extraordinary proportions.
But what exactly is the origin of Lemmings? It’s a story that’s never been told publicly, and it’s definitely not what you think. Join me now on this journey down memory lane… More ▸
Recently, Apple hired Tor Myhren as VP of Marketing Communications.
He comes from Grey, where he was the global chief creative officer and president of the NY office.
To borrow some new Star Wars terminology, he’s a big deal in advertising.
On the surface, Tor’s hiring is what it is. But if you look a bit deeper, there are all sorts of juicy implications.
To better appreciate, one must first understand how Apple’s marketing has worked in the past, Steve Jobs-style.
Steve kept things simple. Basically, he trusted the right people to do the right job. He had the ad agency (called TBWA\Chiat\Day in 1997, becoming Media Arts Lab later) and his in-house creative group. The two had separate and distinct responsibilities.
The agency developed the big ad campaigns and the in-house group owned apple.com, product packaging and themes/signage for the retail Apple Stores. More ▸
Following the first shopping weekend of the holiday season, the news for Apple was refreshingly positive.
One could even say it was surprisingly positive, given the negativity preceding about downward trending iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch sales.
The new news was that Apple was off to a record-breaking start. Not only was Apple Watch a hot item, but even the lowly iPad was showing new life.
But wait! Surely there is some gloom hiding in there somewhere.
Yesterday, I awoke to see a Fortune article by Philip Elmer-Dewitt with the click-bait-ish headline Top 12 Reasons People Gave Up On The Apple Watch. Ominous! Except that once you understand the nature of the study, it’s not ominous at all.
Elmer-Dewitt is talking about a new survey from Internet research firm Wristly. Having previously reported 97% Apple Watch satisfaction ratings, their new survey is “the first formal survey of dissatisfied customers.” More ▸
I have to say, it’s awesome that an Appleslinger can be so quick on the draw. It pays to be fleet of foot, even if one is light of brain.
Once I got to the page, ancient memories were stirred. Yes, it’s more keen commentary from 24/7 Wall St., who once drew me in with their insightful observation that Apple Watch must be failing because Apple is running ads for it. Makes perfect sense. 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.
Currently, I have talks scheduled in these places.
(Public events are indicated by live links.)
6 Oct 2016: Madrid, Spain
26 Oct 2016: Mexico City, Mexico
8 Nov 2016: Milan, Italy
11 Nov 2016: Barcelona, Spain
14 June 2017: Tokyo, Japan