September 27, 2021

Book Notes

Insanely Simple by Ken Segall | Book Notes

Introduction – The Simple Stick

  • Apple’s package-design team had just returned from their presentation to Steve Jobs, and their faces told the story. There were no visible signs of carnage. They just had that “things didn’t go exactly as we planned” look.
  • “Well,” he said, “Steve hit us with the Simple Stick.” Translation: Steve had rejected their work—not because it was bad but because in some way it failed to distill the idea to its essence. It took a turn when it should have traveled a straight line.
  • The person leading the project had directed the team to create packaging for two versions of the same product. Steve had decided this was brain-dead. “Just combine them,” he said. “One product, one box.” There was no need to explore the idea of a second package. He was right. It was simpler, quicker, better.
  • The Simple Stick symbolizes a core value within Apple. Sometimes it’s held up as inspiration; other times it’s wielded like a caveman’s club. In all cases, it’s a reminder of what sets Apple apart from other technology companies and what makes Apple stand out in a complicated world: a deep, almost religious belief in the power of Simplicity.
  • As those who have worked with Apple will attest, the simpler way isn’t always the easiest. Often it requires more time, more money, and more energy.
  • When Steve Jobs took the stage to announce Macintosh in 1984, he used words that would resonate for decades to come. He called it “insanely great.”
  • When Steve returned to Apple after eleven years in exile, so did the insanity—and the lines started forming once again. First he reignited computers (iMac), then he revolutionized music (iPod and iTunes), then smartphones (iPhone), and most
  • Every one of Apple’s revolutions was born of the company’s devotion to Simplicity. Each new device either created a new category or turned an existing category on its head—all because, as an old iMac ad put it, the technology was “simply amazing, and amazingly simple.”
  • Simplicity not only enables Apple to revolutionize—it enables Apple to revolutionize repeatedly.
  • Simplicity is not merely a layer that can be grafted onto a business. It isn’t available in a prepackaged version. It doesn’t work with an on/off switch.

Insanely Simple’s Raison d’Être

  • The operative theory here is that, while Apple does many things well—hardware, software, manufacturing, strategy, product launches, PR, marketing, retail, and much more—Simplicity is the common thread that ties them all together.

What Makes Simplicity Tick

  • Simplicity is the love child of two of the most powerful forces in business: Brains and Common Sense.
  • Just understand that Simplicity is more than a goal—it’s a skill. To successfully leverage its power, you need to get good at it. That takes practice.

CHAPTER 1 – Think Brutal

  • My mentor and boss on Apple back in Los Angeles was Steve Hayden, the man responsible for introducing the Macintosh computer when he worked at the ad agency Chiat/Day. He was the author of Apple’s 1984 commercial, the spot that turned the Super Bowl into a grand advertising event and is thought by many to be the greatest commercial ever made.
  • I didn’t think of Steve in terms of being nice or mean, approving or disapproving. He was simply being straight with me.
  • Steve didn’t like Complexity in his working relationships any more than he liked extra buttons on his iPod. Blunt is Simplicity. Meandering is Complexity.
  • Far more prevalent in the corporate world is the varnished truth, followed closely by the sporadic truth.
  • Clarity propels an organization. Not occasional clarity but pervasive, twenty-four-hour, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners clarity.
  • If people were brutally honest in their emails, the time we spend sorting through our in-boxes would surely decrease by half.
  • This is probably the one element of Simplicity that’s easiest to institute. Just be honest and never hold back. Demand the same from those you work with. You’ll make some people squirm, but everyone will know where they stand. One hundred percent of your group’s time will be focused on forward progress—no need to decode what people are really saying.

Standards Aren’t for Bending

  • Apple’s longtime agency Chiat/Day is so well known for its clever T-shirts that it once published a “best of” book. One of its more famous T-shirts attempted to fight off the human instinct to settle for near perfection. It read, “Good enough is not enough.”
  • Your challenge is to become unbending when it comes to enforcing your standards. Mercilessly so. If you submit only the work you believe in 100 percent and approve only the work you believe in 100 percent, you own something that no one can take away from you: integrity.
  • One creative team had knocked themselves out on this project and truly, passionately believed in their work. I didn’t love what they’d done. But they practically begged me not to cut it out of the presentation, and I let my compassion step between me and my standards. I kept their ads in the show.
  • was busted. The truth is, I thought those ads were “good enough,” and I’d included them with another series of ads I thought was much better. But there they sat, diminishing the quality of our show. What I had done was easier, not smarter.
  • That was enough for me to pledge that I’d never again put myself in a position where I had to defend something I didn’t believe in.
  • In Apple’s world, every manager has to be a ruthless enforcer of high standards. If you’re willing to alter your standards from situation to situation, you and Simplicity are going to have a rocky relationship.

Brutality with Style

  • He didn’t hold high respect for the “handlers,” only for the people who did the actual work.
  • It’s when things are left unresolved that people spend too much of their time looking over their shoulders instead of looking ahead. That’s when Complexity creeps in.

The Rotating Turret

  • A former Apple senior staffer remembers a routine that he saw played out often during his time as a direct report to Steve. He calls it “the rotating turret.”
  • There was no predicting when it would happen, as it depended on how conversations evolved. But in some meeting, at some random time, some poor soul in the room would say something that everyone in the room could tell was going to light Steve’s fuse.

Learn to Take a Punch

  • I’m proud to say that in over a decade of working directly with Steve, between NeXT and Apple, I was on the receiving end of a scary outburst on only two occasions, both of which will be forever etched into my memory.
  • The previous regime had licensed other computer makers to sell Mac-compatible desktops. The idea was that this might help open the floodgates to new users and save a platform that was suffering a world of hurt. Steve hated this idea.
  • When Steve nixed the idea, they crucified him.
  • I was surprised at the ferocity of the attacks. The naysayers were lashing out at Steve as a professional and as a person. But for Steve it was business as usual. This wasn’t the first time he’d been criticized, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last.
  • I further came to appreciate Steve’s thick skin when the TBS network broadcast its original movie Pirates of Silicon Valley in 1999.
  • He wasn’t surprised that the movie would be fictionalized. That’s just the way things work.
  • He seemed to buy the notion that any publicity is good publicity, and the negatives just rolled off his back.

CHAPTER 2 – Think Small

  • Apple encourages big thinking but small everything else. That is, if you feel the urge to speak or act in a manner reminiscent of anything you learned in a big company, it’s best that you do that in the privacy of your own home. Meeting size is a good example.

Simplicity’s Best Friend: Small Groups of Smart People

  • Start with small groups of smart people—and keep them small. Every time the body count goes higher, you’re simply inviting Complexity to take a seat at the table.
  • Everyone in the room should be there for a reason. There’s no such thing as a “mercy invitation.” Either you’re critical to the meeting or you’re not.
  • Truthfully, you can do the brutal thing without being brutal. Just explain your reasons. Keep the group small.
  • One reason why large, unwieldy groups tend to be created in many companies is that the culture of a company is bigger than any one person. It’s hard to change “the way we do things here.” This is where the zealots of Simplicity need to step in and overcome the inertia.
  • But we all know that too many unnecessary or overpopulated meetings can rob even the most brilliant people of their creative energy.
  • The more people involved in the effort, the more complicated briefings become, the more hand-holding is required to get people up to speed, and the more time must be spent reviewing participants’ work and offering useful feedback.
  • Steve saw no reason to be delicate when his time, and the time of everyone in the room, was being wasted.

Think Big, Act Small

  • Speaking at the All Things Digital conference in 2010, Steve Jobs revealed a bit about Apple’s inner workings: You know how many committees we have at Apple? Zero. We’re organized like a start-up. We’re the biggest start-up on the planet.
  • One of the things Steve institutionalized was an annual off-site meeting of Apple’s global executives called the Top 100.
  • At the Top 100 meeting, Steve and his executive team would lay out the strategies for the coming year and provide a glimpse into the years beyond.

The Laws of Small

  • The quality of work resulting from a project is inversely proportional to the number of people involved in the project.
  • The quality of work resulting from a project increases in direct proportion to the degree of involvement by the ultimate decision maker.
  • He wouldn’t allow anyone to see the agency’s creative ideas before he did. He didn’t want anyone, even the VP of marketing, to filter the work before he had a chance to view it. “I don’t want someone guessing what I’m going to like or not like,” Steve explained on more than one occasion. “Maybe I’ll see a spark in there that nobody else sees.”
  • The bottom line is this: If you think it’s important, you find time for it.

Small Groups = Better Relationships

  • Chiat/Day worked with Apple for five years beginning in 1980; the two reunited in 1997, and they continue to work together to this day. That’s an unusually long partnership by ad industry norms.
  • That type of attitude perfectly captures the difficulty of dealing with large groups when an account worth millions of dollars is at stake. If you’re not careful, honesty can be replaced by calculation and relationships can get “managed” rather than nurtured.

Getting Smaller by Streamlining

  • Intel is capable of producing things other companies can’t even imagine. That said, its ads have been mostly pathetic. Why? Let’s blame it on their upbringing. Intel is a company of engineers. They make decisions based on cold, hard, scientific evidence—even when they’re making decisions about something that has an emotional component, like marketing.
  • Great ideas travel with a degree of risk.

Love of Process vs. Love of Simplicity

  • My first meetings with Dell and Intel were also accurate indicators. The best word to describe them would be “sobering.” That’s too bad, because like everyone else in marketing, I walk into my first meetings with the highest of hopes, determined to see the good and to revel in the potential. But with both of these clients, we could tell that process was going to take precedence over creativity.
  • That was unfortunate, because in Apple’s world we made great gains, often spontaneously, because the idea always had the highest priority.
  • For example, we might be midproduction for an ad that had been approved by Steve Jobs, but then we’d have a better idea while filming or editing. There was no problem going back to Steve with the new idea. In fact, he came to expect us to behave that way, and he looked forward to meetings when new ads were on the agenda.
  • By contrast, this kind of spontaneity didn’t exist in Intel’s world. Once the ad had been socialized among various stakeholders, the concept thoroughly researched, revised, and approved, expectations were set. The process didn’t allow for substantial change—no matter how big an improvement it might have been.
  • Apple doesn’t deal in absolutes like this. A better idea is a better idea.
  • Steve understood and appreciated the creative process—which, in certain ways, is the relative absence of process.
  • His experience with Apple, Pixar, and Disney gave him a perspective many CEOs will never have.
  • He got how ideas needed to be nurtured and protected. He knew that machinelike analysis would not magically yield creative brilliance.
  • Companies that don’t have a leader with Steve’s passion tend to see marketing in more clinical terms.
  • They tend to envision a beautiful machine where briefings go in one end and great creative work comes out the other.
  • This is the problem that most big companies face. Their processes have become so institutionalized, they’re incapable of altering their own behavior—even if the benefits of change are staring them right in the face.
  • When process is king, ideas will never be. It takes only Common Sense to recognize that the more layers you add to a process, the more watered down the final work will become.

Simplicity Is the Ultimate Efficiency

  • But brilliant marketing plans—and brilliant ads—aren’t created by machinery. They’re the result of many subjective, nontechnology decisions made by people who (hopefully) have insights about human behavior.
  • Intel is a company that was founded on engineering excellence, so it is also ruthless about efficiency. But its product—microprocessors—isn’t quite as warm and fuzzy as an iPad. So Intel’s obsession with efficiency pervades every part of the company—including marketing.
  • Though some companies will literally spend millions of dollars in the name of efficiency, the truth is that Simplicity is the ultimate efficiency.
  • Keeping Hierarchy at Bay
  • Hierarchies are not only mentally exhausting for those who have to deal with them, but they tend to whittle away the quality of the work as it’s shuttled from meeting to meeting.
  • In multilayered organizations, it’s difficult to stand up for imaginative thinking—because it puts your neck on the line. In Apple’s flatter organization, it’s easier to “think different.”

CHAPTER 3 Think Minimal

  • Steve Jobs often spoke publicly about the purity of Apple’s thinking. It focuses on one thing and doesn’t get distracted by anything else.
  • He was referring to the fact that once you were past the development phase, building a software “product” was far simpler—and far less costly—than building a computer. “Printing money” was an apt analogy.
  • Rather than charge the normal upgrade price, which in those days was $99, he was thinking of shipping a second version of Mac OS 9 that would be given away for free—but would be supported instead by advertising.
  • And any time an owner of the free version wanted to get rid of the advertising, he or she could simply pay for the ad-free version.
  • Steve provided some details about how the advertising would work. At system start-up, the user would see a sixty-second commercial. This ad could be regularly changed via updates from Apple’s servers.
  • Throughout the rest of the OS, ads would appear in places where they had the most relevance. For example, if the print dialogue box indicated that you were running low on printer ink, you might see an ad from Epson with a link to its store—so you could buy some ink right then and there.
  • In talking about the commercial that would run at start-up, the consensus was that we would invite only premium companies, and they’d be obligated to deliver very high-quality ads.
  • The idea of inviting advertising into the simple, clean environment of Mac OS 9 seemed to fly in the face of all of that.
  • When we left the meeting, Lee and I had the impression this was really going to happen. But thankfully, it did not. It appeared that too many negatives had come up and Steve scrapped the idea as a result.
  • People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.

The Reduction Act of 1998

  • Under the leadership of John Sculley, Mike Spindler, and Gil Amelio, Apple continued to lose its magic—and, along with it, market share.
  • Steve inherited a line of products that was way too complicated—especially for a company the size of Apple. Management’s attempts to please everyone had resulted in a bewildering choice of computer models, including Quadra, Performa, Macintosh LC, PowerBook, and Power Macintosh.
  • But his other announcement is the one that created a fundamentally new direction for the company. It wasn’t a computer at all—it was a simple chart. A square containing four quadrants. What it represented was Apple’s new product strategy.
  • He was going to transition Apple from its multitude of computer models to a simple grid of four: laptops for consumers and pros, and desktops for consumers and pros.

The Perils of Proliferation

  • Visit Apple’s site and you can choose between two models: MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Within each of those models, you can choose the size screen you want and make your choices for speed, memory, and disk size. Pretty simple.
  • Now take a look at the sites for HP and Dell. Their lineups change frequently, but in November of 2012, HP was offering forty-nine distinct models of laptops while Dell was offering forty-two. These computers have a range of overlapping features, and many are spread across different pages.
  • This is called product proliferation.
  • When choice becomes overwhelming, it ceases to be a benefit and starts to become a liability.
  • At a certain point, an overabundance of choice only torpedoes a person’s ability to make a confident decision.
  • The basic rule of business on the Internet is no different from the one in real-world stores. The faster and simpler you can make the buying experience, the more business you’ll do.

The Less the Merrier

  • If you ever felt the urge to buy an iPod because it was so beautifully crafted, or if you felt compelled to own an iPad because of the way it responded to your touch, or if your friend’s new iPhone suddenly made your own phone seem less interesting, you already appreciate the power of Simplicity.

Death by a Thousand Cuts

  • When we embarked upon a new campaign in Intel’s world, here is how the development process normally worked: Pick the top three campaigns. Organize focus groups in several cities to test all three (internationally, when required). Produce the favored campaign (and sometimes the second-favorite as well, as a backup). Retest the finished versions of all ads with more focus groups. Revise the ads as necessary, based on the research. Run the ads on TV. Re-retest the currently airing ads, making running changes if needed.
  • Testing was a religion to Intel, just as Simplicity is to Apple.
  • Intel’s approach seemed based on the premise that a single bad idea would bring down the empire. Apple’s approach embraced the idea that it’s okay to make a mistake, that it’s better to shoot for the stars and fall short on occasion than to burden itself with processes that drain the creativity from its ads.
  • Those who believe in Simplicity believe that good ideas need to be protected from those who would do them damage. The best way to do this is to minimize the processes through which these ideas must travel.

Don’t Bury Your Fact in Facts

  • Your point will be more quickly understood, and more easily remembered, if you don’t clutter it up with other points.
  • The more things you ask people to focus on, the fewer they’ll remember.
  • People will always respond better to a single idea expressed clearly. They tune out when Complexity begins to speak instead.
  • The Inexplicable Urge to Obfuscate
  • Minimizing the choices provides customers with a simpler path, a better value, and a happier frame of mind.
  • The moral of the story: When in doubt, minimize.

CHAPTER 4 Think Motion

Simplicity Never Stands Still

  • The work we had already shared became the starting point for the Think different campaign that would play such a big role in the resurrection of Apple.
  • The Smart Timeline
  • Though it may defy logic, the easiest way to screw up a project is to give it too much time—enough time for people to rethink, revise, have second thoughts, invite others into the project, get more opinions, conduct tests, etc.
  • To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.
  • Aim realistically high. When Apple created the first iPod, it didn’t set out to create a portable player that could accommodate music, movies, podcasts, and photos. It created a music player. The rest would come later.
  • Never stop moving. The project begins on day one and should consume people from the get-go. No time-outs allowed. Only when people are kept in constant motion do they stay focused with the right kind of intensity.
  • Concentrating on building the best possible 1.0 product gives Apple a number of advantages beyond scheduling.
  • Another good example is iPhone. The 1.0 version of this product didn’t even support apps, which quickly came to be the most revolutionary part of the platform. The original idea was that Apple would support only web apps developed in Safari.

Thinking Different vs. Thinking Crazy

  • The brand, as you know, is a company’s most valuable asset. When you have a strong brand, you’re at the top of the list when customers decide to buy.
  • Here is a comparison between my two similarly conceived adventures in branding with Apple and Dell: Apple set out to create a brand campaign in 1997. Dell set out to create a brand campaign in 2008. Apple wanted to start its campaign immediately. Dell pondered a schedule that would take months. Apple’s brand team was led by its CEO. Dell’s brand team was led by a committee. Apple trusted a small group of smart people. Dell trusted a small group of incompatible people. Apple knew exactly who it was. Dell needed to figure out who it was. Steve Jobs was an active participant. Michael Dell would look in when the project was complete. Apple’s brand team required only the CEO’s approval. Dell’s brand team required each division’s approval. Apple took a month to conceive and create a campaign. Dell required a month just to talk about strategies. Apple ended up with the Think different campaign. Dell ended up with a stack of presentation boards stored neatly in a dark closet.
  • The word “committee” is not usually associated with successful creative endeavors,
  • Simplicity is a fundamental requirement when you’re trying to achieve lofty goals.

The Search for Microsoft’s Values

  • It was the Department of Justice investigation of Microsoft that sucked the life out of the company over a two-year period starting in 1999.

CHAPTER 5 Think Iconic

  • The Think different campaign consisted of a series of images of people who changed the world by “thinking different.”

The Seed of Apple’s Rebirth

  • There would be at least a six-month period before the first of Steve’s new products rolled off the assembly line. During that time, he wanted to start a campaign that would lay the foundation for Apple’s comeback and set the stage for the innovative products to come.
  • Target-wise Apple needed to reach three different groups of people. First were those who remembered the great Apple of old but whose opinions of the brand had faded along with Apple’s success. Second was the new generation of users who were young enough that they’d only known one Apple—the anemic one. Third, and every bit as important, were Apple employees.

Think Different: Birth of an Iconic Campaign

  • As the Chiat team generated ideas, two words made everyone take notice: “Think different.”
  • But the words became even more powerful when combined with images of people whose thinking had truly changed the world, like Albert Einstein.
  • The Think different ads were a vivid reminder that a single iconic image can be the most powerful form of communication.
  • As we developed the campaign, each ad consisted of one black-and-white portrait of an Apple “hero,” bleeding off all sides of the page, with nothing more than the Apple logo and the words “Think different” placed tastefully in a corner.
  • On television, the commercial that launched the campaign similarly used black-and-white film clips that captured the spirit of each individual. Over this series of images Richard Dreyfuss read a script that praised the “crazy ones” who dared to see things differently.

Seeing the Big Picture

  • I would marvel at how bold Simplicity could be. Rather than advertise a variety of products, Steve insisted that there be a single focus for every quarter. That focus would be highlighted on the home page and it would be the subject of almost all of the advertising.

Simplicity’s Unfair Advantage

  • Selling a brand campaign to a client is often like selling a nineteen-year-old on the benefits of starting a retirement account. The gains are just too far off in the future.
  • One Button: The Official Symbol of Simplicity
  • With iPhone, Apple staged a direct frontal assault on multibutton thinking. Part of it was purely psychological. After all those years of using phones populated with so many buttons, iPhone screamed Simplicity.
  • This unwillingness to compromise reflected the purity of his devotion to Simplicity. And the result—a revolution in the smartphone category—speaks volumes about the correctness of his philosophy.
  • A former director of product marketing at Apple, Mike Evangelist, has told the story of one of his first meetings with Steve Jobs, a meeting that took place in 2000 inside the Apple boardroom.
  • Mike’s team had been charged with developing a simple way to turn a home movie into a DVD, an app that would later show up as iDVD (one of the iLife apps).
  • Mike was shocked when Steve Jobs walked into the room, ignored their work, and walked right up to the whiteboard. “Here’s the new application,” he said. “It’s got one window. You drag your video into the window. Then you click the button that says ‘Burn.’ That’s it. That’s what we’re going to make.”

Bringing Icons to Life

  • but simply showing the product isn’t always it. What Apple has done with great success at key points in its history is create an image that becomes an icon for its product or product line. This image changes the way customers think about the technology, imbuing it with a personality that makes it harder to forget.
  • The ads for iPod are an interesting example of how Apple chose not to show its product at all but created iconic images that would be infinitely more effective.
  • In the past, Steve had often avoided the use of people in his ads because an actor who seemed cool to one viewer might be a turnoff to another.
  • Apple tests none of its ads, while big companies like Intel tend to test them all.
  • The campaign that ran for years after the first iPod ad transcended both problems contained in that ad. It had a hook that really was captivating, and it didn’t try to impress us with the coolness of any particular person.
  • It created an iconic image that came to immediately communicate “Apple” and “iPod.”
  • Susan Alinsangan, a Chiat art director, came up with the design of the iPod Silhouettes commercials.
  • This became the official look of iPod advertising, which appeared not only in TV ads but also on Apple’s favorite medium, outdoor advertising.
  • The iconic look of these ads became instantly recognizable to anyone exposed to the marketing effort—which was pretty much everyone on earth.
  • These were incredibly human commercials, yet they never showed a human face. Simplicity wins again.

Iconifying the Enemy

  • The nature of advertising is to claim that you have a better product.
  • How you portray your “enemy” has a big impact on how your audience perceives you.
  • Thanks to Chiat’s creative genius, the Mac vs. PC campaign would become what many consider the most hard-hitting and successful campaign in Apple history.
  • It turned both the Mac and PC platforms into human beings. Each was given a personality, and their interaction humorously drew attention to their differences.
  • Back in 1999, Apple found itself in a situation where it chose to battle an even bigger competitor: the entire world of computers.
  • The story dominating the news that year was the dreaded Y2K bug, which threatened to cause a worldwide computer meltdown on New Year’s Day 2000.
  • The problem was that most computers treated dates as two-digit numbers (representing “1999” as “99,” for example), and were ill prepared to deal with the change from “99” to “00.” Many computers would see “00” as “1900”—or even “19100”—and businesses feared chaos would result.
  • those who relied on Macs didn’t have to spend a cent.
  • Macs were configured so that users wouldn’t have any date-related issues until the year 29,940.
  • For TV we searched for a way to best visualize the problem. Ultimately, we came up with a way to graphically depict the entire global mess using a simple red lens. Our spokesperson would be HAL, the menacing computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The HAL ad ran during the Super Bowl in 1999, immediately following kickoff.

CHAPTER 6 Think Phrasal

  • It was the spring of 1998, and we’d been summoned up to Cupertino for our first viewing of this new computer, code-named C1. The “C” stood for “consumer.”
  • One product manager reached for the sheet and revealed C1. There it was—the computer you’d come to know as iMac—looking like it came right out of The Jetsons.
  • It was a colorful one-piece computer that showed off its inner circuitry through a semitransparent shell.
  • This turned out to be the pro tower model that would be announced soon after C1, the new Power Mac G3. It wasn’t translucent, but it shared many of the C1 design features.
  • First, however, Steve gave us a challenge: We needed a name for this thing. C1 was on a fast track to production, and the name had to be decided quickly to accommodate the manufacturing and package design process.
  • “We already have a name we like a lot, but I want you guys to see if you can beat it,” said Steve. “The name is ‘MacMan.’

The “i” of My Apple

  • I’d like you to think for a moment about the art of product naming.
  • From some companies, you see names like “iPhone.” From others you see names like “Casio G’zOne Commando” or the “Sony DVP SR200P/B” DVD player.
  • Product naming is the ultimate exercise in Simplicity.
  • The agency team was heartbroken to learn that Steve had fallen in love with such a disappointing name as “MacMan.”
  • Phil Schiller, Apple’s worldwide marketing manager, was in the room, and Steve revealed that “MacMan” was Phil’s contribution.
  • “I think it’s sort of reminiscent of Sony,” said Steve, referring of course to Sony’s legendary Walkman line of personal music players.
  • Having a name that so blatantly echoed another company’s style couldn’t be the right way to go.
  • This is a common problem dealing with any client. Once they’ve fallen in love with something you don’t like, the only way to really move them off of it is to show them something better.
  • Steve threw out some guidelines for our naming development. “First of all, you have to know it’s a Mac,” he said. “So I think it has to have the ‘Mac’ word in it.”
  • “Second, everybody wants to get on the Internet, and this is the easiest way to get there,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer.”
  • Steve had two warnings for us, though—two traps he didn’t want us to fall into.
  • “This is a full-powered Mac, but some people are going to look at it and think it’s a toy. So the name shouldn’t sound too frivolous,” he said.
  • “There’s also a danger people might think it’s a portable, because it’s got this big handle on the top. But this thing is heavy. That handle is just there to make it easier to move around in the house. So don’t make it sound portable,” he said.
  • Potential disagreement aside, naming C1 was a terrifically cool opportunity, and the agency team leaped at the chance.
  • We’d gone through a long list of candidates, trimmed it down to five favorites, and created a single poster board for each.
  • Our favorite name was one that I’d come up with early in the process: “iMac.”
  • It seemed to solve all the problems at once. It was clearly a Mac. The i conveyed that this was a Mac designed to get you onto the Internet. It was also a perfectly succinct name—just a single letter added to the word “Mac.” It didn’t sound like a toy and it didn’t sound portable.
  • For Simplicity and minimalism, “iMac” seemed to be perfect.
  • And of course, there was also one other small advantage that came with the name “iMac.” It created an interesting foundation upon which Apple could name future consumer products.
  • I made the case that not only was “iMac” concise and easy to remember, but the “i” could stand for other things. There was the obvious association with the Internet, but it could also stand for “individual” and “imagination.”
  • “I hate them all. ‘MacMan’ is better.”
  • We threw out all the previous names but left “iMac” in the mix, despite the fact that Steve had used the “hate” word.
  • “As long as you’ve got new ideas to share, you are free to re-present the old one.”
  • Steve had said he didn’t hate “iMac” anymore. Felt like positive energy to me.
  • And so, “iMac” it was.
  • And that little letter “i” became one of the most important parts of the Apple brand.
  • Product Naming for Fun and (Hopefully) Profit
  • There are two methods by which a company can create a product name. It can bring in an agency that specializes in such things, which can cost a small fortune, or it can take a whack at it itself.
  • Apple doesn’t work that way. The names of its revolutionary products were all generated by either Chiat or Apple’s product and marketing teams.
  • You’d think that the name “iPhone” would have been a quick decision due to its obviousness. But many alternate names were developed, partly for the sake of due diligence and partly because there were some legal questions surrounding the name.
  • A bad name, however, can indeed become a liability in a product launch.
  • The iPhone name didn’t make people jump up and down, but it made an incredible amount of sense. It came after iMac, iPod, iPhoto, and a host of other “i” products, clearly identifying it as an Apple product.
  • The “i” identifies Apple’s consumer devices, and is always attached to a word that’s descriptive of the product or product category.
  • And every time you say the name of an Apple product, you know it’s an Apple product. That’s an incredibly powerful concept, as simple as simple gets—but
  • Why exactly are so many product names just generic or mediocre? It’s because Complexity is deeply embedded in the naming process.
  • A name has to be approved by multiple stakeholders. In most companies it’s considered a great victory just to get a name through all the legal obstacles.

Simplicity Is Singularity

  • New models of iPhone have come out annually since 2007, but each and every one carries the same name. Modifiers exist to distinguish between models (3GS, 4, 4S, 5, etc.), but such references are used only when conversationally necessary.
  • All product lines—iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air—retain their familiar names no matter how radically their design may change.
  • Apple is happy to do the extra work if it will make things simpler for its customers.
  • Apple doesn’t just keep naming simple for the sake of brand-building. It keeps naming simple so it doesn’t confuse the hell out of people.

The One That Got Away

  • Pentium is a good example of a synthesized name that came to have a well-known meaning due to (a) its ubiquity and (b) Intel’s heavy investment in promoting it. Pentium was a branding success—a distinct, powerful subbrand of Intel.
  • needed to come up with a new family name for this technology, and it needed a really good marketing plan.
  • Common Sense, speaking on behalf of Simplicity, would have required Intel to come up with a name before it came up with a marketing plan.
  • Instead, this cart was going to be sent off in advance of the horse. Intel’s debate over the name had been going on for months. So the agency was instructed to come up with a creative marketing plan—but leave a blank space in our ads and materials into which we could plug the name and product logo later.
  • Apple faced a legal issue with Cisco concerning the use of the name “iPhone” before that device was ever unveiled.
  • but basically Steve Jobs was so determined to use this name for his world-changing device, he chose to announce it without first securing the legal rights.

The Joy of Obvious

Praying to False Gods

  • “Thou shalt not lust after thy neighbor’s marketing.”
  • I’ve lost count of the clients I’ve seen pin their competitors’ ads to the wall and openly wish those ads were their own.
  • Simplicity requires you to keep your eyes on the road and stay true to your own company’s values. It’s about authenticity.

Web Practices for the Clear-Minded

  • When Apple executives approve the content of, their goal is to impart information as they stay true to the Apple voice.
  • Apple is warm, welcoming, and smart, and the site is a no-brainer to navigate.
  • Steve had strict standards for Apple’s site regarding what got in and what didn’t. He wasn’t a big fan of whizzy animations.
  • He insisted that Apple’s site should avoid the frivolous and just make it easy for people to find the information they seek.
  • He was even fussy about URLs. At one time, we were sharing a finished commercial with Steve when someone in the room suggested that we use a modified URL at the end of the ad to direct people to a specific Apple page, such as “” Steve looked stunned that anyone would even suggest such a thing.
  • Steve didn’t believe in making people work harder just so he could collect data about their movements.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Word

  • Steve loved being part of the creative process, and that involved offering up his opinion on every word and image.
  • For Steve, there was no such thing as an unimportant detail.
  • Apple is unrelenting about sending the message of Simplicity to its customers. It does that with every product it creates—and every word it chooses.

CHAPTER 7 Think Casual

  • In the agency world, planners are those who are paid to represent the consumer’s point of view—as opposed to the agency’s or the client’s point of view. They’re the ones who are supposed to figure out what customers are thinking, providing the insights as to what messages might make them more likely to buy.
  • Planners are supposed to condense all this information into a digestible form that will guide the creative people in developing the most effective work. They are also essential in crafting the marketing strategies that serve as the foundation for the creative work.
  • Steve was most comfortable with a table, a whiteboard, and an honest exchange of ideas. He resisted anything that made it feel like relationships were becoming formal, or like Apple might be beginning to display behaviors typical of a big corporation.

Presentations Without Dread

  • When you’re working with large, unwieldy groups, one begins to feel like a cog in a wheel.
  • Death by Formality
  • Simplicity is in a hurry. It wants to cut to the chase and concentrate on the important stuff.
  • Many people incorrectly assume that by increasing the word count they will demonstrate their smarts, when the opposite is almost always closer to reality.
  • Those who know how to communicate with brevity are the ones who come across as smarter and are more appreciated by executives who value their time.
  • There’s a thin line between leading clients to a conclusion and treating them like idiots.
  • In many ways, a formal presentation creates a barrier. Just because it ends with “Any questions?” does not mean it promotes conversation.
  • The only time Steve believed in making a formal presentation was when he was onstage unveiling a new Apple product.
  • In fact, in many ways he followed the traditional presentation playbook: Lay out the agenda, lay out the facts for each topic, then summarize each topic before moving on to the next.

CHAPTER 8 Think Human

Technology with Feeling

  • Steve explained in a 2006 Newsweek interview: We had the hardware expertise, the industrial design expertise, and the software expertise, including iTunes. One of the biggest insights we [had] was that we decided not to try to manage your music library on the iPod, but to manage it in iTunes. Other companies tried to do everything on the device itself and made it so complicated that it was useless.
  • Apple doesn’t actually invent the idea from scratch. The concept may already exist but be missing only one thing: Simplicity. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Steve Jobs, Card-Carrying Human

Here’s to the Crazy One (Steve)

The Further Humanization of Steve

  • Out of Apple, Steve started a new computer company—making very sure he would retain the majority share forever. He called it NeXT.
  • The story of how he got that name has actually never been told.
  • One of Steve’s oldest friends and business associates was Tom Suiter, a San Francisco–area designer. When Steve was starting his new company, he called Tom to tell him he’d come up with a name for it. He would call it “Two”—because it was his second company. Tom wasn’t impressed.
  • Shortly afterward, Tom attended a speech by Bill Gates in Seattle. He was struck by the number of times Gates used the word “next” as he described new technologies being developed by Microsoft.
  • “I think I have the name for your new company. It’s ‘Next.’ ” There was a long pause while Steve soaked it in. And then came the enthusiastic “I love it!”
  • It’s ironic that a speech by Bill Gates was actually the spark for the naming of NeXT.
  • Apple purchased NeXT in 1996 for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock—and got Steve as “adviser” to CEO Gil Amelio in the deal.

Technology Not Spoken Here

  • Apple didn’t describe the original iPod as a 6.5-ounce music player with a five-gigabyte drive. It simply said, “1,000 songs in your pocket.” This is the way human beings communicate, so this is the way Apple communicates.
  • Apple’s big advantage is that it didn’t establish its voice yesterday. It’s one of those “overnight sensations” thirty years in the making.
  • One of the boldest things Apple did to speak to its fellow human beings was create a multipage foldout insert for major magazines that became one of Apple’s early “classics.”
  • standards). It had to start with the basics—it had to convince people a computer could open new doors for them. The magazine insert was designed to tackle that problem head-on. The headline asked, “Will someone please tell me exactly what a personal computer can do?” The cover opened to reveal four full pages side by side, stuffed to the gills with a list of a hundred things you could do.
  • (This insert was created by Steve Hayden—the very man who would later be responsible for creating the 1984 commercial that launched Macintosh.)

Say No to Arrogance

  • Today Apple’s detractors see a different kind of arrogance. They rail against Apple’s unbending desire to control all aspects of the mobile experience—the hardware, the system software, what apps you buy and where you buy them.
  • The Mac vs. PC campaign became a cultural phenomenon—sixty-six ads that ran over a period of four years—sparking more interest and attention than any campaign in Apple’s history.
  • It hit a nerve because Chiat came up with a unique format that allowed Apple to turn a discussion of the Mac’s most important attributes into entertainment.
  • The ads presented Mac and PC as real people, each with a unique personality perfectly matched to the platform it represented.
  • Justin Long played the down-to-earth, “it just works” Mac, while John Hodgman played the part of PC,
  • Being competitive without being arrogant is a difficult thing.
  • Launching sixty-six scathing attacks upon your archcompetitor while still being lovable is a really, really difficult thing. But that’s what Mac vs. PC managed to do.
  • In truth, the campaign had shaky beginnings, as Steve rejected many of Chiat’s scripts over the course of several meetings.
  • Refusing to give up on their idea, the Chiat team decided that the best thing to do was to go out and shoot some real ads using the proposed actors. They spent an intense weekend doing just that and shared the ads with Steve on Monday. Seeing them on the screen instead of on paper, he loved them.

Babies and Puppies Not Required

  • Most of the time, when clients ask for humanity, they’re really asking to see images of people.
  • What determines the humanity in a company’s messages is tone—which is the combined effect of the words and images it chooses to use.

Engineering Humanity

  • Humanity for Business or Pleasure
  • unlike other computer makers, Apple doesn’t normally dilute its marketing plan by separately targeting its business and consumer audiences.

Born to Be Human

  • The concept has to be quick. The customer has to get it in a second—like “phone, Internet, and iPod, all in one.” Customers need to be able to pick it up and start using it instantly.
  • He made it a point to say that in the technology business, the only truly meaningful change is a 10x improvement over what came before.

The Battle Between Numbers and Humans

  • He would never sacrifice that kind of connection in favor of a decision that somehow got Apple a few more clicks on its website.
  • He would eagerly consume the data that would pour in, but in the end he made his decisions based on head and heart—like every good human should.
  • He said that Apple stands at the intersection of technology and liberal arts—and this was the essence of Steve.
  • He would never put his blind faith in statistics or judge the worth of an idea by the number he saw at the bottom of a spreadsheet. Ideas were everything to Steve and he knew that great ideas didn’t usually show up in traditional ways.
  • On several occasions, Steve used a famous quote from Henry Ford: “If I asked people what they wanted, they’d say a faster horse.” In his mind, it was Apple’s job to dream up the things that people can’t imagine.
  • In a 1998 BusinessWeek interview, Steve said: It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

CHAPTER 9 Think Skeptic

  • Lawyers play a big role in the marketing business. They come in handy when a company gets sued for a few billion dollars. They’re also on hand to make sure that the wacky guys in the creative department don’t do something everyone will live to regret.

Take Advice, Not Orders

iPhone Versus iPhone

  • Steve was looking forward to getting onstage and saying “This is iPhone.”
  • The product was ready. The ads were ready. It was all perfect—except for the annoying little fact that Cisco was already selling a device with the same name.
  • By most indications, going ahead with the iPhone announcement would open Apple up to a serious lawsuit.
  • According to published statements from Cisco sources, an agreement with Apple was reached and papers delivered to Apple for signature the day before Steve was set to introduce iPhone. But Apple never signed the papers.
  • The next morning Steve got up and started the iPhone revolution by unveiling the device—and without ever settling the issue with Cisco.
  • Cisco did in fact begin a legal action immediately following the launch of iPhone, but then quickly reached an agreement with Apple on “undisclosed terms.”
  • The greater point, though, is that Steve saw extremely high value in the name “iPhone” and was undeterred by the potentially tough legal road ahead.

In Appreciation of Skeptical Lawyers

Under the Yoke of Lawyers

Death Threats Work Wonders

  • Let’s move on to the word “no.” When someone comes up with an idea in business, this is a word that is heard way too often. There are always a thousand reasons why something can’t be done—only a few of which can’t be circumvented with creative thinking. So when a colleague or vendor says no, you need to take that with a large grain of salt. More often than not, what they really mean to say is that it would take too much effort, it’s not the way we ordinarily do things, it would be too costly, or any number of other excuses.
  • For the sake of Simplicity, it’s a good idea to probe thoroughly when you run into a negative response. It might just be that you’re asking someone to go above and beyond what’s normal—but that’s how you get above-normal results.

Standing Up for Details

  • People often talk about the “unboxing experience” that comes with buying an Apple product.
  • To Apple, a box is hardly “just a box.” The company takes incredible care to ensure that the entire customer experience is consistently first quality—and that first moment, when the customer is going through the packaging, is a significant part of that experience.
  • The Apple designers recognized that when the vendor said, “It can’t be done,” what he really meant was that it couldn’t be done without extraordinary effort.

Ignoring the Naysayers: Inventing the Apple Store

  • So in 1997 Steve announced a deal with CompUSA, in which that national retail chain would create an Apple “store within a store.”
  • It didn’t exactly work as planned. People did have a place to go, but Apple’s presence in CompUSA was usually way back in a corner. You had to go looking for it and walk through a maze of PC equipment to get there.
  • If Apple was going to start reclaiming the market share it had lost during its dark years, it needed to do some serious “thinking different.”
  • And so the idea of the Apple Store was born. Steve recruited Ron Johnson, famous for turning Target into a cool place to shop, to head Apple’s new retail group and develop the Apple Store concept.
  • Apple had zero experience in the retail world and only about 3 percent of the computer market (a similar market share to Gateway’s). So it wasn’t totally
  • Bloomberg Businessweek didn’t do much better when it published an article with the headline “Sorry, Steve: Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work.”
  • Apple now has over 350 stores in the most prime real estate around the world.
  • As of 2012, the Apple Stores were responsible for over $14 billion of annual revenue (and nearly $5 billion in profit).
  • The Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York, for example, would become a famous landmark in a city of high-rises, even though it rises only thirty-two feet in the air.
  • The Apple brand stood for quality, design, and Simplicity, and the Apple Stores brought all three of these things to life.
  • Steve Jobs learned early that if you have a great idea, you need to ignore the negativity and concentrate on moving forward. You must also go to extremes to ensure that those great ideas survive.

CHAPTER 10 Think War

  • It was 1998. Laid out in front of Steve on the boardroom table was a new ad campaign that was calculated to do more than raise eyebrows. Across two full pages of a newspaper was the giant image of a snail—carrying on its back what was then the fastest Intel chip powering PCs. If that wasn’t insulting enough, this ad was the follow-up to a TV commercial that was getting heavy airplay on the major networks. Most of the ad’s thirty seconds featured a close-up of the same snail, burdened by the same Intel chip, oozing its way across the screen.
  • In those days PCs owned 97 percent of the global computer market. Almost all PCs ran on Intel processors, while Macs were built on the PowerPC chip, which had been jointly created by IBM and Motorola.
  • Snail was just the opening salvo in the unilaterally declared war against Intel.

It’s Good to Have Enemies

  • In another great moment for Simplicity, Steve summed it up by saying, “We have to get it out of our heads that for us to win, Microsoft has to lose.” He went on to say, “The battle for the desktop is over. And we lost.”
  • Microsoft. In return for Apple dropping its ongoing lawsuit against Microsoft, Bill Gates pledged to support Microsoft Office for Mac for the next five years and invested $150 million in Apple.
  • In fact, the popularity of the Mac vs. PC campaign started to hang so heavily over Microsoft, it actually responded with its own campaign, which featured a variety of people cheerfully exclaiming, “I’m a PC.”
  • What Apple has discovered over the years is that having an enemy can be fun. And if done right—quite profitable.

Use Every Available Weapon

  • More important, he had followed through on one of the most critical principles of Simplicity. He hadn’t held back. He had used every weapon in his arsenal to work toward his goal. That he didn’t succeed was not for lack of trying.

Use Overwhelming Force

  • You can make sure that when you move your ideas forward, you leave nothing to chance. This means erring on the side of overkill.
  • When you’re dealing with the forces of Complexity, the last thing you want is an even fight. Decisive victories are far more compelling than narrow ones.
  • Most important, you need to do everything in your power to represent your own work all the way to the top.
  • When someone else represents your work to a higher level of client, or to a higher level within your own organization, only rarely will they have your level of passion.
  • If the person representing your work runs into opposition, they’ll normally be far more willing to throw in the towel than you would be, or to make compromises that you would never agree to. It’s human nature.
  • If you fail to go with overwhelming force, you are risking two things, neither of which is pleasant. First there’s the greater possibility of failure. Then there are the sleepless nights you’ll spend wondering what might have happened had you called in the heavy artillery.

Simplicity: The Ultimate Weapon of War

  • Technologically, Apple had established itself as a master of miniaturization. Philosophically, it had established itself as a master of Simplicity.
  • The world that Apple was to invade with iPhone was dominated by BlackBerry.
  • However, as devotees of Simplicity, the Apple team could see BlackBerry’s weakness clear as a bell. It was complicated. It had some good functionality—but its capabilities were nested so deeply within multiple menus, even the most tech-savvy didn’t often think to use them.
  • Two years before iPhone was announced, Steve touched on the company’s ability to make complicated things simple in a 2006 Newsweek interview: When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.
  • Once Apple comes up with a solution, it’s more of a beginning than an end.

CHAPTER 11 Think Ahead

  • Steve employed a group of brilliant designers, engineers, and marketers who, by his vision and guidance, conceived and created products that “pushed the human race forward.”
  • His decisions were based more on instinct and belief than on any true guarantee of success.
  • But he believed that profits were a by-product of creating amazing computers and devices.
  • Apple’s design chief Jony Ive echoed Steve’s philosophy in a speech to London’s Royal College of Art in 2010: Apple’s goal isn’t to make money. Our goal is to design and develop and bring to market good products. We trust that as a consequence of that, we’ll make some money. But we’re really clear what our goals are.

A Seriously Restrained iPhone

  • Publicly, Steve Jobs said that iPhone would not run third-party apps, period. Allowing that to happen would expose the device to potential corruption via viruses or unauthorized access to data.
  • Steve insisted that the right solution was to allow developers to create “web apps,” which would run within Apple’s Safari browser. In effect, they were mini web pages coded to work like apps, and they worked only when the iPhone was connected to the Internet.
  • Though he resisted for some time, Steve ultimately changed his mind. Within a year, apps were transformed from taboo to the engine of iPhone’s extraordinary growth—and one of Apple’s most important sources of revenue.
  • Innovation is a somewhat bumpy road, and the company’s first year without Steve had its shaky moments.

Moving Forward Without the Founder

A Less-Than-Genius Ad Campaign

  • During the Summer Olympics of 2012, Apple bought a large presence. It produced a new campaign for its Mac products
  • Apple’s new effort was the Genius campaign. It consisted of three commercials, each featuring a young, supposedly engaging Genius from the Apple Store. The idea of the campaign was that even when the Genius wasn’t at work, he would find himself in situations where he would save the day for an Apple customer who needed help—on a plane, in his apartment building, on the street.
  • The campaign bombed. It was quickly attacked in the blogosphere, for a number of good reasons.
  • A great campaign does not alienate one group as it targets another.
  • The nature of creativity is that when you shoot for the stars, sometimes you miss.
  • The iPhone 5 campaign that followed was arguably Apple’s best advertising in years. These new ads featured actor Jeff Daniels in the voiceover role—quirky, intelligent, and likable.

Tim Rights a Wrong

  • In late 2012, Tim Cook made his boldest move yet. He shook up the Apple executive team.
  • A far more shocking move was the dismissal of Scott Forstall. Scott was a personal favorite of Steve Jobs going all the way back to NeXT and was in charge of the iOS software platform.
  • People accepted Steve Jobs behavior in Steve Jobs. They had a tough time accepting it in anyone else.

The Great Skeuomorphism Debate

  • For some time, rumors were circulating that Apple’s designer-in-chief, Jony Ive, was not a fan of Scott Forstall.
  • Clearly there was a personality issue there. Scott’s aggressive style did not jibe well with Jony’s more gentlemanly British style.
  • But there was also a design issue causing a rift between them. It’s called skeuomorphism.
  • In the world of computer interfaces, a skeuomorph is the ornamental design on an interface element that harks back to a familiar real-world object, thus making its purpose obvious.
  • Some debated whether skeuomorphs have any place in a modern interface, since most of today’s users have grown up with technology and don’t need the comforts of real-world references.
  • More important, the rift between Forstall and Ive highlighted a serious problem growing within Apple.
  • With Forstall sent packing, Cook gave Jony Ive the additional responsibility of Human Interface across all Apple products.

Conclusion – Think Different

Simplicity Is Always Original

  • A simple idea is not necessarily a better idea.

The Mouse That Didn’t Roar

  • One of Apple’s best-known failures is the “hockey puck mouse” that shipped with the original iMac and the Power Mac G3 that soon followed.
  • The Power Mac G4 Cube was another of Apple’s classic blunders—even though it was such a marvelously designed system that it became part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

Like Money in the Brand Bank

  • Steve Jobs was a firm believer in the concept of the “brand bank.”
  • He believed that a company’s brand works like a bank account. When the company does good things, such as launch a hit product or a great campaign, it makes deposits in the brand bank. When a company experiences setbacks, like an embarrassing mouse or an overpriced computer, it’s making a withdrawal.

Harnessing the Power of Simplicity

  • Now that you’ve seen how Apple adheres to the elements of Simplicity, it’s time to start thinking about some practical means for you to do the same:
  • Think Brutal.
  • No need to be mean, just brutally honest—and avoid the partial truths while you’re at it. Ask those you interact with to do the same. People will be more focused, more positive, and more productive when they don’t have to guess what you’re thinking. Positive or negative, make honesty the basis of all interactions. You’ll avoid wasting valuable time and energy later.
  • Think Small.
  • Swear allegiance to the concept of small groups of smart people.
  • Small groups of smart people deliver better results, higher efficiency, and improved morale.
  • Think Minimal.
  • Be mindful of the fact that every time you attempt to communicate more than one thing, you’re splintering the attention of those you’re talking to—whether they’re customers or colleagues.
  • Remember that a sea of choices is no choice at all. The more you can minimize your proposition, the more attractive it will be.
  • Think Motion.
  • The perfect project timeline is only slightly less elusive than the Holy Grail. It
  • Always be wary of the “comfortable” timeline—it’s just a fact of life that a degree of pressure keeps things moving ahead with purpose.
  • With too much time in the schedule, you’re just inviting more opinions, and more opportunities to have your ideas nibbled to death.
  • Think Iconic.
  • Even if you’re not in the marketing biz, it will serve you well to crystallize your thinking by leveraging an image that can symbolize your idea, or the spirit of
  • Think Phrasal.
  • This is an area where just about every business needs more work. Words are powerful, but more words are not more powerful—they’re often just confusing.
  • The best way to make yourself or your company look smart is to express an idea simply and with perfect clarity.
  • The same can be said for product naming. Simple and natural names stick with people, while jargon and model numbers do not.
  • Think Casual.
  • Do what Steve Jobs did: Shun the trappings of big business. Operating like a smaller, less hierarchical company makes everyone more productive—and makes it more likely that you’ll become a bigger business.
  • Think Human.
  • Have the boldness to look beyond numbers and spreadsheets and allow your heart to have a say in the matter.
  • Think Skeptic.
  • Expect the first reaction of others to be negative.
  • Don’t allow the discouragement of others to force compromise upon your ideas. Push.
  • Think War.
  • Extreme times call for extreme measures. When your ideas are facing life or death, that’s an extreme time.
  • Remember, when your idea’s life is on the line, the last thing you want is a fair fight. Use every available weapon. If possible, grab the unfair advantage.

Steve Jobs’s Monument to Simplicity

  • In this sense, Steve’s greatest achievement wasn’t a Mac, iPod, iPhone, or iPad. He accomplished something that no one had even contemplated before. Steve Jobs built a monument to Simplicity. That monument is Apple itself.
“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end, because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
—Steve Jobs

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