Business and Marketing Lessons from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple, was a unique visionary and his influence, as a technology innovator will be sorely missed.

World leaders, tech giants, and countless ordinary people have paid tribute to Steve Jobs after his death, marvelling at how the Apple visionary made modern life more user-friendly.

US President Barack Obama said Jobs, who died from cancer on the 5th of October, had “transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder and CEO posted on Facebook “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”

After founding Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak, he was eventually ousted by the very CEO he had hired to run the company. Without him, Apple struggled and flirted with bankruptcy. With him, Apple flourished and will always be recognised as the greatest turnaround in corporate history, as Apple has become the largest company in the world by market cap.

Apple’s Mac Computer range have unparalleled industrial design while proving that computers can be irresistible as their users ultimately become raving fans.

Apple re-defined the MP3 player market with the iPod and the iTunes Music store set the standard for digital distribution of music and content.

The iPhone not only raised, but really smashed the Smartphone bar and changed the mobile device world forever with the now-ubiquitous touch screen and shot down the idea that technical specifications were all consumers cared about. Rather, ease of use and an integrated user experience trumped everything else.

The newest market that is still unfolding under Apple’s influence is the tablet market, whose standards have been set incredibly high by the iPad and now the iPad 2.

During his absence from Apple, jobs also acquired and created Pixar. Starting with the original Toy Story they redefined the standard of computer generated movies for years to come.

Jobs list of accomplishments are many and far reaching. So what business and marketing lessons can we take from them:

11 Business and Marketing Lessons from Steve Jobs

1. Design trumps function
All the devices Apple made had one crucial thing in common: people fell in love with them. They felt passionately about them, in a way the world had never seen before.

Design, as he explained in 2000, wasn’t about how it looked. It was about how it worked. “In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”

Apple products are just plain cool. They’re sleek, attractive, enticing and they work well. While other products may work just as well, people want something that looks good too. Steve Jobs was well aware of the importance of good-looking designs

2. Turn Your Customers into Raving Fans
Apple has become a popular culture icon and adored by its customers on a level that most other brands can only dream of.

They have done this with their sleek cool design and by creating insanely great brand experiences. They have turned their customers into Raving Fans.

Most people are either Windows People of Mac People. From my experience once someone has changed from the dark side over to the light side and embraced the Mac there is no going back :). They even become evangelists to try and get others to try it too.

3. Be a visionary leader, not a follower of the Pack
Visionaries are always called crazy in the beginning. Be confident. You might be right, even though nobody listens to you. Jobs showed the world that thinking differently is acceptable. Do not be afraid to implement your ideas.

4. Improve on what is Currently Offered in the Market Place
Apple is known as a highly innovative company that has completely transformed the way we think about entertainment and communication.

But in reality, the business has built its success on improving what went before. It made the MP3 player better with the iPod. The mobile phone was improved with the iPhone.

The story goes that the iPhone came about after Apple execs complained to each other about what irritated them about their mobiles. Jobs focused on what wasn’t working in current trends and overhauled it.

5. Keep a Strict Focus
Jobs once said: “Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we’ve got less than 30 major products. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before… it means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”

6. Demand the Best
Jobs may have a favourable image in the media, but those who have worked under him describe a hard man obsessed with perfection. As well as thinking big, Jobs liked to be across the detail too.

“My job is not to be easy on people,” he once stated. “My job is to make them better.”

7. Work Hard
Steve worked at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day. He was never embarrassed about working hard, even if the results were failures.

8. Turn a problem into an opportunity.
Jobs got fired from the company he built, but came back to build the most valuable technology company in the world. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” Do not give up when facing obstacles. It might just be another hurdle you need to clear before arriving at your destination.

9. Simplicity
One of the largest and most widespread early arguments for switching to Macs was that they’re easy to use. People raved about how simple Mac computers were and felt no sympathy for whiny PC users who couldn’t find the files they stored or the ‘print’ command in Word. Bringing things down to a consumer level can be hard to do, but Jobs made the computer accessible for everyone.

The same can be said for Apple’s other devices as we have a 3-year-old son who can work the iPhone and iPad to play Angry Birds. The same could not be said for many if any other mobile device brands.

10. Make it Easy to Buy
iTunes is the most perfect ecommerce store online. It has an incredibly smart design where they capture your credit card details once and then store it and all your details with your unique ‘Apple ID’ so that next time you are ready to buy you can buy with just one click. Having 200 to 300 million customers setup to buy with 1 click buy has no doubt largely helped the profitability of Apple in recent years.

11. Do What You Love
Steve Jobs said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Do what you love. Seek out a business that gives you a sense of meaning, direction and satisfaction in life. Having a sense of purpose and striving towards goals gives life meaning, direction and satisfaction. It not only contributes to health and longevity, but also makes you feel better in hard times.

Lets finish with Jobs’s parting advice to the Stanford graduates of 2005 in his Commencement Speech – “Stay hungry,” he said. “Stay foolish.”

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