I was at a performance of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Wednesday night when news of his death rippled through the audience. I have to think that most of the people in that audience barely heard a note for at least 15 minutes as the reality of that news sank in.
He was the greatest marketer of our generation. Not just in his ability to create products that people craved, but in his ability to market them.
Someone once said that Jobs understood the concept of “desire” better than anyone. I think that’s true, because I can honestly say that I have desired almost every product he has created. I own all things Apple.
There’s a lot one can say about Steve Jobs, but here are 10 things I particularly admired about him:
10. He never used focus groups. He quoted Henry Ford: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
9. He stayed loyal to one advertising agency – the incredible TBWA/Chiat/Day. And he stayed especially loyal to that agency’s Chief Creative Officer, Lee Clow. (Listen to the Age of Persuasion episode entitled “Dynamic Duos” for an analysis of their relationship)
8. He offered to pay for the “1984” TV spot out of his own pocket when the Apple board of directors hated it and wanted it shelved. His instincts were correct – he said it would be the most famous commercial of all time. He was right.
7. Yes, he was known to fire people in elevators, but as one of his colleagues said, “If you were 100 IQ points smarter than almost anyone you ever talked to, you’d be irritated a lot of the time, too.”
6. He used to walk into Apple in the morning, and yell “Field Trip!” Then take all his designers to the museum, just to point out one small design element to them on one sculpture. Then they would all jump back on the bus and go back to Apple. He worshipped detail.
5. He went to a jellybean factory to understand how to implement consistent colour in his 1998 iMac computers.
4. His cocky description of the iPod’s simplicity that he gave to the press at the launch: “Plug it in. Whirrrrrrr. Done.”
3. When he returned to Apple after being banished for 11 years, he was so disgusted with what he found there, he sold all his stock – except for one symbolic share.
2. When he was trying to recruit Pepsi President John Sculley to become Apple’s CEO, he nailed it with just one line: “Do you want to sell sugared water, or do you want to change the world?”
1. When TBWA/Chiat/Day presented the “Think Different” campaign to Jobs that featured the world’s most famous thinkers like Einstein, Lennon and Ghandi, Jobs only turned one image down – Steve Jobs.
In that one decision, he was wrong.