Four Things I have Learned from Steve Jobs
I recently read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I found the book both interesting and annoying, something I think summarizes how many people felt about Jobs as a person.
Never having made billions myself, I feel in a poor position to criticize Jobs. However, there are things I learned in the book that bother me. I wonder if Apple could be a greater company today if it was allowed to be a little less of Jobs cult of ego.
I’ve decided that there are four key lessons to take away from Jobs and Apple.
Lesson 1: Don’t be limited by what people know they want.
This is a commonly acknowledged key to Job’s genius. He was inventing devices consumers didn’t even know to ask for. Apple brought great advancements to the world of the personal computer.
I shudder to think how techno-geeky the average PC would be today without Apple’s influence on making things easy for the average person. Just as Henry Ford knew that people wanted a motor car, not a faster horse, Jobs knew that people needed technology that was simple.
Lesson 2: Never think you know it all.
So here is where I take issue with Jobs. He really thought he knew it all. In the 656 pages of the biography there is not one mention of researching or listening to the consumer. Rather, the only influences were those things that people at Apple were willing to fight him on. And, sometimes they won.
I can only wonder if Apple’s market share would be larger today if Jobs’ genius was combined with some actual caring of usability and consumer preferences.
I offer my iPhone as an example. Sleek design, yes. Streamlined user interface yes. Usability, not so much. Every time I have to look up a phone number I am amazed at how hard it is to find a phone number on my cell phone. And, every time my cheek activates the speaker or hangs up on a call I just have to groan a little. It’s pretty, it was easy to get started, but boy does it have some basic usability issues.Continued on the next page