Unless you have been on the moon for the last 15 years then you know the impact that Steve Jobs has had on the world with his company Apple. It is great to hear the war stories but the real question is – “How does he do it?”
Why is this important to me?
It may not be but if you have seen any of my investment summaries and you want to make money than it may be important to you. Remember we make money in the business, hold it in cash flow real-estate and invest profits in paper assets and continue the cycle. The one thing that makes this all work is the business. If you build a great business then you can garner wealth at a much faster pace than any other investment vehicle. Look at Facebook. Mark Zuckerburg is a billionaire at 26 years old.
Steve Jobs has a compelling why and it has to do with his legacy. Simply – We will be dead soon so make an impact. What is your compelling why? In my family the males do not live that long. My father outlasted each of his brothers and passed at the ripe old age of 58. Needless to say, time is precious so you need to invest it wisely. Who are your heroes? I point this out because roughly only 3 percent of the people are committed to designing the life of their dreams. The rest are sleep walking to the end. This summary is about innovation. Some traits that all great innovators in the past share are: intense drive, unbridled curiosity, and a keen imagination.
This book is packed with 7 principles of innovation followed by Steve Jobs and Apple. They are all important and I am going to review each of them in summary.
1. Do what you love – Nothing great comes out of misery. Life is way too short to work a job you hate day in and day out. Doing what you love takes guts. Most people will fight you on it and tell you that you will not make money or it is too risky or some other garbage. Be true to yourself. Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class because he was curious. Everybody thought he was nuts. We have the cool computer fonts today because of that class. Now that is what I call impact – Millions of people using cool stuff because Jobs decided to go against the grain.
2. Put a dent in the universe – This is motivation for yourself and your team. People need to be inspired to produce at a higher level. This is not easy. With pressures from all angles, it is easy to be mediocre. If you are working on putting a dent in the universe on every project then you will make great stuff. On a much smaller scale, we create software for police and sheriff departments in their dispatch centers. It is our vision to make their jobs easier. This does not sound like much but if we can help them dispatch better than they can save more lives, faster. That is putting a small dent in the wall anyway…
3. Kick start your brain – people are creatures of habit and habits are formed to make life easier. To kick start your brain, we need to experience different things and look for solutions in different areas. If you are familiar with the power supplies on Apple laptops, they have a magnet that connects the cord from the computer to the wall. Thus if you trip over the cord then it comes off as opposed to having your laptop pulled off the table. This seems obvious now that Apple is delivering it but that is an innovative idea. Where did it come from? The Japanese have been making cooking appliances with that type of connector for years. Thus look outside your box for better ideas. This also means to look outside your industry. I can attest that sometimes you are so caught up in what the customers want that you forget that you need to innovate and your problem may be a simple routine in another industry. Keep your eyes open.
4. Sell Dreams not products – If you have not seen any of Steve Job’s presentations then I suggest you go to YouTube and check them out. He is a master presenter and excellent story teller. He sells possibilities and dreams not bits and bytes. Apple products are packed with great engineering and technology but he keeps the geek speak to a minimum. I can attest that our sales of our software went up dramatically when we stopped selling product tech babble and started selling dreams and possibilities. I only wish I would have read the book sooner…
5. Say no to 1,000 things – This has to be the hardest principle covered so far. If you look at the iPod, it does not allow you to interchange the battery. Steve Jobs kept his resolve and did not allow the customers to push him for convenience. Adding that battery changer would have added moving parts, complexity and reduced reliability. More important it would have made the product more complex. Remember that for every input you create an output. This creates two potential break points. Eliminate one thing and get rid of two problems.
6. Create insanely great experiences – Have you ever been to an Apple store? They are great and packed with people. They thought of every inch to make it a great experience. Do you remember Gateway Computers? They tried to make stores and got their asses kicked. They took the distribution model to the stores and died. Apple took the Starbucks experience along with knowledge and NO pressure selling to the people. Other companies try to copy but to no avail. I was walking in a mall in Oregon and I looked at the Apple store which was packed and right across the hallway was the Sony store which was empty. Both sell products in the same market. Innovation and Execution makes all the difference. By the way, Wall Street and all Apples competitors thought they would lose their shirts by opening stores.
7. Master the Message – You cannot hide passion. When you love what you do and prepare accordingly then people see it. This is why Steve Jobs has a cult like following. Mastering the message means being a great story teller. Story telling will win you more business and create more passion around your company than anything else.
Innovation is this amazing intersection of someone’s imagination and the reality in which we live. Your passion and excitement as well as story telling will attract great people. One person that needs to be acknowledged is Jonathan Ivy. He is the head of design at Apple. He is responsible for a lot of the great designs that are now second nature.
I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.
One thing you can take away from this book is to look outside your industry. If you make a product or software or some other business then you need to innovate. Customers want to buy the best and want to follow leaders.