My Big Takeaway From Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

November 25, 2011

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is a great biography about a fascinating man. Much of the press about the book focuses on bad behavior, and I suppose no one should expect more. I know I wanted to assume Steve Jobs was a nice fellow, and I suspect I had plenty of company. In fact, the evidence suggests that, at best, Mr. Jobs could be charming when he felt like it, and that feeling like being charming consumed a very small part of many days. The media likes contra-stories, of course, so this is a lollapalooza!

So what’s the real takeaway? The Apple Marketing Philosphy, a one page lesson plan for successful marketing, written by Mike Markkula. Mr. Markkula, an Apple angel investor and executive who is a big-time Silicon Valley success, provided major assistance to Apple in its formative years. The Philosophy–I haven’t been able to locate it, so I’m basing my comments on quotes from the biography and web sources–is comprised of three points:  empathizing with customer needs; focusing on only key matters; and imputing core aspects of products within packaging. Put even more simply, put customer needs first (which means, of course, understanding your customers at a very deep level), focus on meeting those needs, and make sure your customers know what you’re doing in every possible way. If these core values are present, and you have some ability (and plenty of luck), success will come.

Translatable lessons? Absolutely! I don’t suppose any healthy individual can be as focused as Mr. Jobs was, but I know I can improve my ability to understand my customers and their needs–I call them clients, and they’re buying services, but so what–and that I can package what I do in ways that help people better appreciate the services they are obtaining. New goal for the new year!!!

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