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The Innovation Secrets of STEVE JOBSINSANELY DIFFERENT Principles for Breakthrough Success
By CARMINE GALLO
McGraw-HillCopyright © 2011 Carmine Gallo
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhat Would Steve Do?
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. —STEVE JOBS
Innovation is Apple's secret sauce, but cofounder and CEO Steven P. Jobs does not believe in "systems" to create innovation. Apple employees do not attend workshops to exercise their innovation muscles. You will not find Legos strewn about the Apple campus to spark innovation, nor will you see employees scouring the halls for items in a scavenger hunt as an "innovation consultant" leads them in a contrived team-building activity. In fact, Steve Jobs disdains trite exercises. "We don't think, let's take a class! Here are the five rules of innovation; let's put them up all over the company!" Jobs once told Rob Walker for the New York Times. Walker pressed Jobs during the interview and suggested that many people do try to create systems—or methods—to ignite innovation. "Of course they do," Jobs said. "It's like somebody who's not cool trying to be cool. It's painful to watch ... It's like watching Michael Dell try to dance. Painful."
This book takes the pain out of innovation. It is not intended to create a rigid, step-by-step method for innovation, since that's the last thing Jobs would recommend. It is intended to reveal the general principles that have guided Steve Jobs in achieving his breakthrough success, principles that can spark your imagination, enhance your creativity, help you develop fresh ideas to grow your business and career, and inspire you to change the world.
Although the principles are based on the model of legendary technology icon Steve Jobs, innovation isn't just about technology; it's about creating new ideas to solve problems. Famous French designer Philippe Starck, who is a fan of Jobs (and Jobs is a fan of his), once said that a "good" product is one that will help you lead a better life. In addition to designing stunning hotel lobbies in some of the world's most desirable locations, Starck has "democratized design" by designing common items with uncommon style, elegance, and simplicity, including bathroom scales, baby monitors, and dozens of other everyday products for retailers such as Target. If we use Starck's definition of "good," then Steve Jobs has been making good—very good—products for more than three decades. The same ethos that drives Starck inspires Jobs, who makes existing products (computers, MP3 players, and smartphones) more accessible, enjoyable, and pleasing to use. If the ideas in this book inspire you to build the next great gadget, that's wonderful, but more broadly, these principles will provide a framework to ignite your business and your career, ideas that will propel you further than you ever thought possible.
The Steve Jobs Experience
How do we know what Steve Jobs has to say? After all, Jobs is one of the most reclusive CEOs on the planet. He is rarely seen in public, most Apple employees have never met him personally, he avoids regular appearances in the media, and he has created such a guarded compound at Apple headquarters that you'd think you had crossed the demilitarized zone into North Korea. Nevertheless, Jobs has had plenty to say since high school when he first met Steve Wozniak and began building computers in a bedroom of his parents' house. (Contrary to popular wisdom, Apple got started in a bedroom before moving to the kitchen and finally to the "garage" where the legend was born.)
While it requires thousands of employees to make Steve Jobs's vision a reality, at its center, the Apple experience is really the Steve Jobs experience. Few people are more closely associated with innovation than Jobs. A Google search for "Steve Jobs + Innovation" will generate more than 2.7 million links. A similar search using the name "Walt Disney" generates 1.5 million links, and "Henry Ford" generates just over a million links. I believe the people who conduct such searches are looking for more than a biography; they are searching for inspiration.
Innovation Secrets is not a biography of Steve Jobs. Instead, it seeks to uncover the principles that have led Steve Jobs to create boundless ideas that have truly changed the world—principles that you can apply today to unleash your potential. Consider it the ultimate field guide to breakthrough success in business and in life. The principles are derived from a thorough examination of Jobs's own words over the past three decades, insights from former Apple employees, experts who have covered the company for decades, and a wide range of business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, and small business owners who have been inspired by asking themselves a simple question: What would Steve do?
The Big Hero
The New York Times Nobel Prize—winning economist Paul Krugman called the last decade "the Big Zero," because, in his opinion, "nothing good happened." But something good did happen. From the ashes of the big zero rose the big hero, Steve Jobs. Fortune has credited Jobs for defying the downturn, cheating death, and changing the world. In a ten-year period that saw two recessions, financial scandals, a banking crisis, huge stock losses, and a reeling economy, Jobs posted win after win. He resuscitated Apple (the company was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy when Jobs returned in 1996) and radically reinvented the computer, music, movie, and telecommunications industries. Remaking one business in one's career is a rare achievement, but as Fortune points out, remaking four is unheard of. Fortune argued that Jobs's influence on global culture could not be underestimated. "Every day, several times a day, some student, entrepreneur, industrial designer, or CEO looks at a problem and wonders: What would Steve Jobs do?"
The 2000s were all about Steve's success. Quarter after quarter, Apple set records for revenue and profits as sales of Macs, iPods, and iPhones exploded. By January 2010, Apple had sold 250 million iPods, commanding more than 70 percent of the MP3 market and changing the way people discover, purchase, and enjoy music. The company increased its share of the PC market to 10 percent, despite average selling prices well above those of other computer makers. Apple Stores had grown to number more than 280 and attracted some fifty million visitors in one quarter alone. In the short eighteen months since the introduction of the App Store on July 10, 2008, three billion applications had been downloaded for use on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple, which had started on April 1, 1976, had grown into a $50 billion company. "I like to forget that because that's not how we think of Apple," Steve Jobs said on January 27, 2010, "but it is pretty amazing." Since returning to Apple in 1996, Steve Jobs had created $150 billion in shareholder wealth and transformed movies, telecom, music, retail, publishing, and design. If you're looking for someone to model, it's fair to ask yourself, "What would Steve do?"
Wall Street values Steve Jobs for bringing Apple back to financial health. In January 2010, the Harvard Business Review named Steve Jobs the best-performing CEO in the world for delivering "a whop-ping 3,188% industry-adjusted return (34% compounded annually) after he rejoined Apple." As of this writing, Apple has a larger market cap than Dell and HP combined. TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington, though, chooses to focus on what Apple means to the world beyond Wall Street. The world, he says, would have looked a lot different had Jobs not returned.
A World Without Steve Jobs
Jobs has spearheaded the development of some of the sexiest products on the planet: iMacs, MacBooks, iPhones, iPods, and most recently, iPad. "But the hardware isn't even the start of what Apple has done in the last 12 years," writes Arrington. "They've accelerated the pace of change in the music, film, and television industries and they've redefined the mobile phone." Had Jobs not returned, Arrington doubts that another CEO would have entered an already saturated MP3 market with the iPod. He questions whether anyone else would have launched the iPhone or the iPad. Even if you do not own these products, Arrington submits, your world would look a lot different had Jobs not been in it: "We'd likely still be in mobile phone hell. Chances are we still wouldn't have a decent browsing experience on the phone, and we certainly wouldn't be enjoying third-party apps like Pandora or Skype on whatever clunker the carriers handed us. Steve Jobs was also the man who nearly single-handedly disrupted the entire music industry. And it's amazing how many laptops and desktops today mimic the look and feel of MacBooks and iMacs. Without Steve Jobs, the world would be a less colorful place. The man is a living legend and deserves his place in history."
Apple's influence was evident all across the exhibit floors of the Barcelona Mobile World Congress in February 2010, even though Apple was not an exhibitor. Competitors such as Samsung, Nokia, LG, and Research in Motion all introduced devices with touch screens and app stores, two innovations popularized by the iPhone.
Apple innovations touch your life every day. Perhaps you've never owned a Mac but you've upgraded to a PC with Windows 7. Upon the introduction of Windows 7, a Microsoft group manager caught some flak by announcing that the new operating system (OS) was inspired by Apple's OS X. Microsoft stripped out code to streamline the system and make it more efficient and stable—a very Apple-like thing to do. In addition, the manager said that what Microsoft attempted to do with its new operating system was to create a graphical look and feel similar to that of the Mac. Whether you're a Mac or a PC, Apple's innovations are all around you.
Someone suggested that matching Steve Jobs's success would be unattainable for most people. I will not insult your intelligence by claiming this book will turn you into a billionaire many times over like Steve Jobs, nor do I promise that it will help you invent the next iPod. A promise like that is akin to a high school coach claiming that he can teach a young athlete to shoot baskets like Michael Jordan. The odds that the kid will be the next Jordan are slim. That said, it is doubtless his skills will improve, and maybe that young athlete will go on to be a star in high school and college and, if he works hard enough, even get a contract worth millions of dollars to play in the NBA. He may never have the influence that Jordan had over the game, but he will have a far more successful sports career than the vast majority of high school athletes could ever hope to achieve.
Who Are Your Heroes?
I once heard that only 3 percent of people are committed to designing the life of their dreams. That sounds about right. Most people spend more time planning grocery lists than thinking about their future. Still, maybe the Great Recession has acted as a wake-up call, reminding people that they need to take control over their lives instead of leaving their futures in the control of others who may not have their best interests in mind.
Young people are looking for guidance, and many are looking to Steve Jobs. In a 2009 Junior Achievement survey, one thousand teenagers with ages ranging from twelve to seventeen were asked to rank the entrepreneurs they most admired. Steve Jobs topped the list with 35 percent of the vote. Oprah, skater Tony Hawk, the Olsen twins, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg all received fewer votes. When asked why they chose Jobs, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (61 percent) gave responses along the lines of "because he made a difference," "he improved people's lives," or "he made the world a better place." Only 4 percent mentioned Jobs's wealth or fame as a reason for selecting him, leading one to believe that teens are more altruistic than adults give them credit for. Making a difference in the world seems to make a difference to American teenagers.
"You can tell a lot about a person by who his or her heroes are," Jobs said, explaining the famous "Think Different" television ad, which featured such notable innovators—and Jobs heroes— as Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Mahatma Gandhi, and Amelia Earhart. The ad campaign debuted on September 28, 1997, less than a year after Jobs's dramatic return to Apple following an eleven-year absence. The Apple brand was tarnished, and Jobs's primary role was to revitalize Apple's image. Once Jobs approved the ad campaign, he did not sit on the sidelines as a passive observer. He immersed himself in every aspect of the campaign, reviewing the artwork every day. Jobs was also instrumental in getting permissions, picking up the phone himself to talk to Yoko Ono or the estate of Albert Einstein.
Actor Richard Dreyfuss read the voice-over narration for the television spot as black-and-white images of thinkers, scientists, and iconoclasts filled the screen. It's easy to see why Jobs took such an ownership role in the project—it was not because he thought the campaign would single-handedly revive Apple's fortunes, but because, in many ways, Dreyfuss was describing him: "Here's to the crazy ones ... the ones who see things differently ... they change things. They invent. They imagine. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward." The campaign meant a lot to Jobs because he was building his legacy, and, as with great innovators before him, he had pushed the human race forward.
Harvard professor Nancy F. Koehn puts Jobs in the same category as other major entrepreneurs of the last two centuries, men and women such as Josiah Wedgwood, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Estée Lauder. They all share certain traits: intense drive, unflagging curiosity, and a keen imagination. "Jobs came of age in a moment of far-reaching economic, social, and technological change that we now call the Information Revolution," Koehn writes. "Wedgwood, the 18th-century British china maker who created the first real consumer brand, grew up in the Industrial Revolution, another period of profound change. And Rockefeller laid the foundations of the modern oil industry in the 1870s and 1880s, when the railroad and the coming of mass production where transforming the U.S. from an agrarian into an industrial society." Koehn maintains that in a time of significant transformation, a lot is up for grabs. Innovators such as Jobs, Rockefeller, and the others seize these moments of disruption.
Revolution in the Air
Disruption was certainly in the air in colonial America in 1776 when fifty-six men, among the most innovative leaders of their time, added their signatures to a document that would ignite a revolution in America and spread to many parts of the globe. The Declaration of Independence put the power of government into the hands of the masses. As America celebrated its bicentennial, two men—Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak—added their signatures to a founding document that would spark a revolution, putting computer power into the hands of everyday people. Just as Thomas Jefferson asserted a right of revolution—the idea that people have rights and that when a government violates those rights and conditions become intolerable, the people have an obligation to alter or abolish that government—Jobs and Wozniak took it upon themselves to change a system that in many ways had become intolerable. Computers were expensive, hard to assemble, and relegated to hobbyists, the elites. Jobs and Wozniak shared a common vision—to build a computer everyone could afford and use. "When we first started Apple we really built the first computer because we wanted one," said Jobs. "Then we designed this crazy new computer with color and a bunch of other things called the Apple II. We had a passion to do this one simple thing which was to get a bunch of computers to our friends so they could have as much fun with them as we were."
Although the Altair 8800 was the first personal computer, Time magazine credited the Apple II with beginning the personal computer revolution. Just as happened in the revolution for independence, not everyone was confident that the computer revolution would lead to a better society. In the 1970s, some observers worried that computers would widen the divide between the haves and the have-nots given the expensive price points of early computers. Others expressed concern that people would lose the ability to think through problems or would become increasingly isolated from society. Of course, volumes could be written about the positive impact that computers have had on humanity, touching and improving our lives every day. One can argue that the forces behind the computer revolution would have led to the democratization of technology without Jobs and Wozniak, but it would be hard to refute the proposition that Jobs made it take flight. It takes confidence to start a revolution, confidence in your own skills and confidence that your vision will indeed advance society.
Excerpted from The Innovation Secrets of STEVE JOBS by CARMINE GALLO Copyright © 2011 by Carmine Gallo. Excerpted by permission of McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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