I read this biography while flying back and forth to meet with senior executives of a Canadian Bank. On the late night flight to Raleigh, I sat next to a young, napping woman who awoke as the plane touched-down, checking her iPhone immediately. Wanting to share my thrill of the biography, I offered “if you like the phone, you’ll probably enjoy this biography.” She stared for a split second and replied, “Apple has changed my work completely. The products allow me to do my work.” “What do you do?”, I asked. “Designer. Used to work for Nokia but they never believed that design mattered first. Engineering came first. Now I work in Berlin and visit Raleigh to help with a local agency. Some of the founders of FROG (Apple’s own design firm) founded this agency.” (BTW, how Helmut Esslinger of FROG remembers Steve Jobs). “Oh,” mumbled the stunned Christopher, trying to imagine if in 45 seconds such an honest, spontaneous exchange of personal, public and historical information could ever take place between clients of other consumer electronics products.
Initial conclusions upon finishing the biography: 1) why doesn’t Apple’s iBooks let one gift an eBook as I’d give 10 away today?! 2) Steve Jobs was weird and weirdly unique and there will never be another like him — and this is not all bad. How’s that!? from a fanboy. As my Apple friend informed me, “yes, there has definitely been a shift at the company over the past three weeks and maybe we can use the change to better operationalize some of the success and processes as we are bursting at the seams with systems catching up to creative and physical output.” 3) it’s up to us to carry-on in some manner, in some small way what Steve Jobs accomplished in so many significant ways. Of course, behaving different is hard. Maybe I should try it.
Over the past 18 months of speaking with banking executives of many sizes and risk profiles, nearly all react positively to the Simon Sinek description of why Apple is so successful…because they know Why they do things; they know what they believe. Below is an excerpt from the biography where Tim Cook offers his description of what Apple believes in.
“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovation. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.”
Tim Cook Apple CEO pg 488 Steve Jobs by WalterJacobson.
Mourning is over. Time to get busy.
19 October 2011 Remembrance Celebration at Cuppertino Campus