You never knew exactly how Steve Jobs would react when you presented a new idea. The only thing you could count on was his brutal honesty.
But, even if he rejected the work, all was not lost. It was simply part of the process. Steve knew that creative work is often iterative, so we’d keep at it until we arrived at a place we all loved. It was a process that actually deepened our relationship over time.
That said, one meeting is seared into my brain because Steve made a particularly biting comment. Not seeing anything he liked in a range of work, he said, “Oh, so you put the B-team on this one.”
In those few words, he questioned how seriously we took the assignment, not to mention our ability to see the difference between “great” and “good enough.” Message received loud and clear. An error in judgment never repeated.
This memory came to the fore because that’s exactly how Apple’s Halloween Eve event made me feel—like the assignment had been relegated to the B-team.
Okay, it took me forever, but I finally got around to watching the 2023 iPhone event.
Why so long? It’s all Apple’s fault. The more they announce new products in these prepackaged events, the less I feel like watching.
My viewing did not change my opinion of virtual presentations. Instead, in an odd way, it got me thinking about the power of AI. Not that Apple used AI. to generate the script—rather that AI could have written the script, and few would have noticed.
That’s because what Apple is doing is exactly what AI is so good at. They’re writing a script based on the show before. And the one before that. And the one before that. They’re stuck in a loop where a parade of presenters describe new products, minus any emotional connection.
ChatGBT wouldn’t break a sweat pulling that together.
Everyone loves a good story. Some people need a good story.
Tim Cook, for example. When Jony Ive decided to leave Apple in June 2019, Tim’s job was to reassure Wall Street that the departure of Steve Jobs’ spiritual partner was only a superficial wound.
The goal was believability, not transparency. After all, this is business. Very, very big business.
And so a story was spun.
Let’s give Tim credit for manufacturing a credible and effective tale. Then let’s wonder why no one ever poked holes in it.
One thing Apple unveiled in its recent Spring Forward event was enough to make me believe in miracles.
After nearly six frustrating years—six years!—one of the company’s most inexplicable design blunders was finally corrected.
Hello, new Siri Remote.
The shock got me digging into the past to examine Apple’s track record when it comes to fixing things that need fixing. Sorry to say, it isn’t pretty.
Here’s a look back at the more notable Apple mistakes—and how long they went uncorrected.
Once upon a time, eight Senior VPs formed Steve Jobs’ inner circle.
Steve empowered them because they were talented, strategic, trusted and in tune with his vision.
Well, time marches on. Apple doesn’t have Steve anymore. Tim Cook has reigned for nearly nine years. One by one, most of Steve’s Gang of Eight have been replaced.
Today only Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams remain. The original Big Guns of hardware, software, retail, marketing, finance and legal have all checked out.
I am eternally grateful that no one ever asked me to write a PR release for a company in trouble.
It’s a thankless job, and nobody believes what you write—but write you must.
That’s why so many surrender from the start, dipping into a reservoir of classics like, “He’s leaving to pursue other opportunities.”
This was the challenge served up to the spokeswoman at Apple’s agency, Media Arts Lab, to explain the recent layoffs of 50 people.
Thankfully, she didn’t ask us to believe that those 50 simultaneously decided to pursue other opportunities. What she did ask us to believe was something equally absurd.