Tag Archives: steve jobs

“Market research is what you do when your product isn’t any good.”

This piece about Steve Jobs' admiration for Edwin Lands, the founder of Polaroid, had a bunch of interesting bits to pull out.
At Polaroid, Land used to hire Smith College’s smartest art-history majors and send them off for a few science classes, in order to create chemists who could keep up when his conversation turned from Maxwell’s equations to Renoir’s brush strokes.

Most of all, Land believed in the power of the scientific demonstration. Starting in the 60s, he began to turn Polaroid’s shareholders’ meetings into dramatic showcases for whatever line the company was about to introduce. In a perfectly art-directed setting, sometimes with live music between segments, he would take the stage, slides projected behind him, the new product in hand, and instead of deploying snake-oil salesmanship would draw you into Land’s World. By the end of the afternoon, you probably wanted to stay there.


The two men met at least twice. John Sculley, the Apple C.E.O. who eventually clashed with Jobs, was there for one meeting, when Jobs made a pilgrimage to Land’s labs in Cambridge, Mass., and wrote in his autobiography that both men described a singular experience: “Dr. Land was saying: ‘I could see what the Polaroid camera should be. It was just as real to me as if it was sitting in front of me, before I had ever built one.’ And Steve said: ‘Yeah, that’s exactly the way I saw the Macintosh.’ He said, If I asked someone who had only used a personal calculator what a Macintosh should be like, they couldn’t have told me. There was no way to do consumer research on it, so I had to go and create it and then show it to people and say, ‘Now what do you think?’”

The worldview he was describing perfectly echoed Land’s: “Market research is what you do when your product isn’t any good.” And his sense of innovation: “Every significant invention,” Land once said, “must be startling, unexpected, and must come into a world that is not prepared for it. If the world were prepared for it, it would not be much of an invention.” Thirty years later, when a reporter asked Jobs how much market research Apple had done before introducing the iPad, he responded, “None. It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.”


Via Stellar

Update:
Chris drew the quotation from the title of this post.

Steve Jobs links

I don't often feel sad or feel sadness, but I do sometimes in times of collective sadness. I'm not sure why. Last night I was on an airplane when it was announced that Steve Jobs had died. When I saw 4 random posts about Jobs on Tumblr, I knew right away. Growing up, the first computer I remember using was a IIgs, but we had at least one model before that. We also had a Performa after that. My first computer at college was a black and white Mac laptop with a 500 MB HD. Etc etc.

I sometimes collect as much about a story in one place as I can, almost as a personal reference for the future. (The Comprehensive Election Reactions Round Up from Obama's election is a good example). I haven't done it recently, but figured now would be a good time. Here's most of what I looked at yesterday, loosely sorted. You've probably seen some of this stuff, but probably haven't seen all of it. The sources are Twitter, Stellar, and Tumblr, along with just clicking around.

RIP, Steve Jobs. Peace and strength to your family and loved ones.

Daring Fireball | Wired.com | NYTimes | BusinessWeek | Chicago Sun-Times | The A.V. Club | Wired.com memorial of quotations | Brian Lam | Walt Mossberg | Tim Carmody | Frank Chimero | Neven Mrgan | Mike Monteiro | John Siracusa | Marco Arment | Dan Dickinson | Michael Sippey | Anil Dash | Rick Webb | Pat Keirnan | Alexis Madrigal | Bill Gates | Tim Berners-Lee | Jim Dalrymple | Horace Deidu | Mike Davidson | New York’s Tech Community | Steven Frank | David Carr | Ken Auletta | Byrne Reese (Pixar intern) | Andy Ihnatko | Mindy Kaling

The 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, and the text.


“Doug, do you have 10 more ideas. Steve”

Different images/art/etc I saw you might want to see. This or this or this or this or this or this or this or this or this or this or this or Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish or this or this or this.

The Think Different ad text, narrated by Richard Dreyfus and Steve Jobs.

Other round ups and slide shows: Kottke | BuzzFeed | The Daily What | TPM Media | Longreads | Apple’s Ads | CNET News | Steve Jobs’s Patents

Apple User Acting Like His Dad Just Died | The Onion and Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies | The Onion

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Together: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Time stops the presses for the first time in 30 years and the NYTimes.com first mention of Steve Jobs in 1977.

Some contrarianism: here and here and here.

Some random articles What Steve Jobs Understood That Our Politicians Don't | Arabs embrace Steve Jobs and the Syrian connection | Pixar's Secret: Rewrite, Re-edit, Recut | Steve Jobs and Pixar changed animated movies forever | Steve Jobs and the idea of letting go

Tom Junod in Esquire: Steve Jobs Dying | Steve Jobs Obituary and a profile from 2008

Some videos: Wozniak Tearfully Remembers His Friend Steve | 1983 Apple Keynote-The "1984" Ad Introduction | The iMac Introduction | The iPod Introduction | Steve Jobs interviewed just before returning to Apple | Steve Jobs Presents to the Cupertino City Council

My other posts.

Open letters to Bon Jovi

Steve Jobs isn’t the problem here. The music industry is the problem—too many bad songs are the problem. It’s the reason the audience doesn’t roar when you talk about playing a new track or two that were added for a re-release of your greatest hits. If your greatest hits were from the last three years, imagine how much money you’d be making on album sales even beyond your touring.

In a letter from Jeremy Horwitz to Bon Jovi who recently said "Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business."

Via

But then I also went back to look at all of the Open Letters to Bon Jovi I could find:

An Open Letter to Bon Jovi (Regarding Setlists)

An Open Letter to Bon Jovi (Regarding Palestine)

An Open Letter to Bon Jovi (Plea for Tickets)

An Open Letter to Bon Jovi (Crush Review)


1985 Steve Jobs interview in Playboy

This 1985 Playboy interview with "Steven" Jobs is long, but fascinating. It's from 25 years ago! This was a time where the "mouse" had to be explained to the readers because most people wouldn't know what it was. ("a "mouse" (a small rolling box with a button on it)"). I pulled out a lot of excerpts I thought were interesting:

The Apple offices in 1985, the forerunner for dotcom offices later on:
"The Apple offices are clearly not like most places of employment. Video games abound, ping-pong tables are in use, speakers blare out music ranging from The Rolling Stones to Windham Hill jazz. Conference rooms are named after Da Vinci and Picasso, and snack-room refrigerators are stocked with fresh carrot, apple and orange juice. (The Mac team alone spends $100,000 on fresh juice per year.)


On Andy Warhol and Keith Haring using the first Macintosh that Jobs had brought to a birthday party for a 9 year old:

Two other party guests wandered into the room and looked over Jobs's shoulder. 'Hmmm,' said the first, Andy Warhol. 'What is this? Look at this, Keith. This is incredible!' The second guest, Keith Haring, the graffiti artist whose work now commands huge prices, went over. Warhol and Haring asked to take a turn at the Mac, and as I walked away, Warhol had just sat down to manipulate the mouse. 'My God!' he was saying, 'I drew a circle!'


On why Jobs was more interested in talking to the 9 year old than the celebrity artists (emphasis mine):
"But more revealing was the scene after the party. Well after the other guests had gone, Jobs stayed to tutor the boy on the fine points of using the Mac. Later, I asked him why he had seemed happier with the boy than with the two famous artists. His answer seemed unrehearsed to me: 'Older people sit down and ask, "What is it?" but the boy asks, "What can I do with it?"'"


On what technology the computer compares to:
The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We're just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people—as remarkable as the telephone.


On pricing:

PLAYBOY: Aside from some of the recurrent criticisms—that the mouse is inefficient, that the Macintosh screen is only black and white—the most serious charge is that Apple overprices its products. Do you care to answer any or all?

JOBS: We've done studies that prove that the mouse is faster than traditional ways of moving through data or applications. Someday we may be able to build a color screen for a reasonable price. As to overpricing, the start-up of a new product makes it more expensive than it will be later. The more we can produce, the lower the price will get——

PLAYBOY: That's what critics charge you with: hooking the enthusiasts with premium prices, then turning around and lowering your prices to catch the rest of the market.

JOBS: That's simply untrue. As soon as we can lower prices, we do. It's true that our computers are less expensive today than they were a few years ago, or even last year. But that's also true of the IBM PC. Our goal is to get computers out to tens of millions of people, and the cheaper we can make them, the easier it's going to be to do that. I'd love it if Macintosh cost $1000.


On the iPhone:
JOBS: The developments will be in making the products more and more portable, networking them, getting out laser printers, getting out shared data bases, getting out more communications ability, maybe the merging of the telephone and the personal computer.


The big villain in this article is IBM. It's sort of jarring that Microsoft isn't mentioned once:
All these things show that it really is coming down to just Apple and IBM. If, for some reason, we make some giant mistakes and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter sort of a computer Dark Ages for about 20 years. Once IBM gains control of a market sector, they almost always stop innovation. They prevent innovation from happening.


On AT&T:

PLAYBOY: Which brings us full circle to your latest milestones, the Mac and your protracted shoot-out with IBM. In this Interview, you've repeatedly sounded as if there really are only two of you left in the field. But although the two of you account for something like 60 percent of the market, can you just write off the other 40 percent—the Radio Shacks, DECs, Epsons, et al.—as insignificant? More important, are you ignoring your potentially biggest rival, A.T.&T.?

JOBS: A.T.&T.. is absolutely going to be in the business. There is a major transformation in the company that's taking place right now. A.T.&T. is changing from a subsidized and regulated service-oriented company to a free-market, competitive-marketing technology company. A.T.&T.'s products per se have never been of the highest quality. All you have to do is go look at their telephones. They're somewhat of an embarrassment. But they do possess great technology in their research labs. Their challenge is to learn how to commercialize that technology. Also, they have to learn about consumer marketing. I think that they will do both of those things, but it's going to take them years.


Via Longreads

25 Media Maxims from Ken Auletta

Ken Auletta from the New Yorker wrote a book about Google, “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” and before he published it, he cut the last chapter of 25 media maxims. Click the link above to read the chapter, or see below to see them in cribbed form. You might recognize the first maxim from Steve Jobs' Stanford graduation address (video below via AllThingsD)

1. “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
2. Passion Wins
3. Focus is Required
4. Vision is Required
5. A Team Culture is Vital
6. Treat Engineers as Kings
7. Treat Customers Like a King
8. Brand Often Means Trust
9. Every Company is a Frenemy
10. The Speed Of Change Accelerates
11. Adapt or Die
12. “Life is long but time is short.”
13. A “Free” Web Is Not Always Free
14. Digital is Different
15. Don’t Think of The Web as Another Distribution Platform
16. Technology Provides Potent New Targeting Tools
17. The Web Forges Communities, and Threatens Privacy
18. Beware The Government Bear
19. Paradox:The Web Forges Both Niche and Large Communities
20. More Media Concentration, Yet More Choice
21. Luck Matters
22. No More Old Media Magic
23. No More New Media Magic, Either
24. Don’t Ignore the Human Factor
25. There are no Certitudes


Congress may extend daylight-saving time

I've never been prouder to be from Massachusetts. If only Ed Markey was my representative. In an epic example of how politicians state the utterly obvious while attempting to appear smart, Markey had this to say, "The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use." Oh really, Congressman, thanks, what else can you tell us? "The more time we waste passing kind of dumb laws, the less we actually get done in Congress with the power invested in us by the voting public." [Imaginative quotational extrapolation mine]

I guess it's OK that some of Congress was working on this bill, because in another part of the capital, other members of Congress were trying to tell Apple how to run their business. I don't think Steve Jobs heard them, though, because he didn't show up.