Some of the Best of Steve Jobs

Hola Todos,

As you can imagine, I’ve read dozens of articles focusing on the life and contributions of Steve Jobs in the past week.  Below are the links to what I feel are the best of the best.

-Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal/All Things Digital leads off the bunch: (link)

-Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Fortune does a nice job: (link)

-Philip Elmer-DeWitt, CNNmoney Apple 2.0 Blog editor does a great job of pulling together better of the best quotes around the web: (link)

-Mark Milian, journalist at CNN, did a great job at examining some of Steve’s core philosophies: (link)

-Finally, Steven Levy at Wired offered us the most detailed of all the retrospectives: (link)

Enjoy them all…

Best

Dr. Dan-o

 

Lady Gaga and Being Different (or Interesting)

Hola Todos!

Here’s a different kind of Nuggetville post – partially inspired by an article I was reading in Rolling Stone on Lady Gaga.  Now, I would not describe myself as a Lady Gaga fan.  I do hear her songs on the radio and there is not doubt she is talented.  If she’s on an awards show, it’s worth tuning in just because she will do something interesting.  But that said, the current edition of Lady Gaga – two albums and a number of chart toppers – is unsustainable.  No one – not an artist – not a firm – not a brand can continually do the same thing year in and year out before the fanbase gets board.  It’s not novel.  It’s not interesting.  How many times are you going to see the same romantic comedy and before you even eat your first handful of popcorn, you already know the guy and the girl are going to get together at the end of this Hollywood movie.  The public got bored of Elvis, Michael Jackson, even the Beatles at certain points of their careers.

Here’s my nugget for the day – if you want to be interesting, do the COMPLETE opposite of what is expected.  Yes this is quite risky but how else can you reinvent yourself or your brand unless you do something unexpected?

Here’s my crazy thought for Lady Gaga: for her next album, dump the disco and the dance hall tunes and go hard cord, old school 70’s rock and roll.  She is already setting the foundation for this musical direction: her performance at the 2011 MTV Video Awards featured a song with a Queen’s guitarist Brain May.  She has performed with and is very close to (godmother to his son) Elton John.  Could Lady Gaga channel David Bowie e.g., Ziggy Stardust? Sure!  Have throwback Lenny Kravitz produce the album and play guitar, with John Paul Jones on bass (e.g., “Are you going my way” Lenny Kravitz tune).  Have multiple guess musicians like Brian May, Bowie, Elton John, etc perform duets on the album.  I mean could Lady Gaga outdo Meatloaf in a 7-minute duet with Mr. Kravitz?  You bet.  Remember Mr. Kravitz wrote a handful of hits for another female performer who always found a way to re-invent herself to sustain her career – Madonna.

Out

Dr. Dan-o

Steve Jobs – A ‘Different’ Kind of Leader

Hola Todos….

It is too easy to say tonight that Steve Jobs has impacted your life.  Even if you never owned an Apple computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad or seen a Pixar movie, you have been influenced by Steve Jobs.  Steve Jobs impacted more then just the technology world, he changed culture and society.  Steve Jobs was a cult of personality; an icon; a cultural figure.  You will be hard pressed to think of another CEO in the last 50 years who has disrupted as many industries (e.g., personal computer, software, movie, music, publishing, telecommunications) as Steve Jobs.  How many CEOs can you think of that can get parodied on Saturday Night Live?  Even President Obama took time of his busy schedule to write a few words of remembrance calling Steve “among the greatest of American innovators.”  Tonight, Steve Jobs is dead at age 56.

I say Steve Jobs was a ‘different’ kind of leader because he lacked many of the soft skills many leaders develop.  To be polite, lets just say Jobs was blunt, direct, often lacked tact, and could easily rub you the wrong way.  But Jobs did have one skill in spades – he had vision.  Jobs knew what he wanted and was relentless until he got it.  It was this singularity of focus on that one thing in his radar screen which he wanted to perfect.  A bulldog who refused take “no” for an answer.  A micro manger who would leave no detail untouched.  At traditional leader he was not.  A visionary who would see his visions fulfilled, he was.

In my honest opinion, the most amazing aspect of Steve Jobs and his skills as an innovator was that he did no marketing research whatsoever.  Zero. Zilch. Nada. From his first revolution of the Apple II PC, to the Macintosh, to the iMac, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, it was Steve’s vision and his singular focus on the end user – the consumer experience – the humans that would actually be using this “cool” technology that made him tick. The one constant Jobs carried with him throughout his distinguished career was his unwavering focus on the end user.  He didn’t need marketing research and one could say he didn’t even care as much about technology for technology’s sake.  He just knew that if he focused on the user experience, (insert product name) would be a success.

For quite some time, Steve Jobs knew he was going to die.  Jobs most famous and most personal speech occurred as the 2005 commencement speaker of Stanford University urging the students to focus on their dreams because their time is now.  Perhaps, Steve Jobs most important legacy is the imprint he left on the firm he founded in a garage so many years ago.  It suffices to say that the bench is deep at Apple Inc especially with the triumvirate of CEO Tim Cook (e.g., the defacto CEO in charge of operations for the last six years), Philip Schiller (Sr. VP, Marketing) and Jonathan Ive (Sr. VP, Industrial Design).  These three along with the other team players developed at Apple match up or are better than every leadership team in tech.  Steve Jobs and company he left behind have at least 24 to 48 month of innovations on the drawing board (including that elusive iPhone 5 that did not appear this week). The near term is solid, just as Steve would have micro managed.  One could say his biggest contribution wasn’t some piece of technology such as a smartphone, a tablet or an operating system, but Apple itself, a 12,000-strong organization that was once on the brink of irrelevance and financial ruin. Since his return to the company in 1997, Steve Jobs has rebuilt Apple from a technology company that created technology products to a company that focuses on a user experience that just happens to create technology products.  Perhaps the most fitting tribute to Steve Jobs given by none other the President Obama, “And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”

 

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

Thoughts on Apple 4GS & Stuff

Hola Todos!

While Apple did “move the bar” today with the announcement of the iPhone 4GS, I believe it was more evolutionary then revolutionary in terms of iPhone and the smart phone market.  I doubt anyone was surprised with any of the “highs” of today’s presentation at Apple.  Apple aficionados like myself expect more because that what makes Apple different for every other tech firm on the planet.  Now if Steve Jobs walked out on stage around 2:20 and said, “Tim, I got ‘one more thing….’” and handed CEO Tim Cook the iPhone 5 and then walked back off the stage, we would have been talking about that for the rest of the year.

Beyond the disappointment of no iPhone 5, the new voice control system called Siri is a major bonus (although just in beta at the moment and only available for iPhone 4GS) that will keep iPhone ahead of its competitors by changing the way people communicate and interact with their mobile phones (e.g., apps, phone calls, calendar features, etc.).

From a marketing strategy perspective, the biggest news was the announcement of the iPhone “family” of product offerings: from the free 3GS, a $99 iPhone 4, to the two higher-end price points for the 4GS ($199 for 16GB, $299 for 32). I fully expect Apple to see strong market share gains because iPhone is now targeting both the low end and the higher end of the overall cell phone market.  Couple that with adding a third carrier, Sprint, here in the US, Apple is building a fortress that will be difficult for the competition to topple.

On a final note, Apple did a poor job “managing expectations.”  Apple did little to quell the rumors of iPhone 5 and much of the news yesterday/today as well as the stock were down overall.  All Apple needed to do was send a back channel message to an influential reporter like Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal two or three days in advance, therefore, tempering any expectations of something “incredible” happening yesterday.  Think about it this way.  Apple knew they do not have one of those magical – ‘one more things…’ up their sleeve AND this was going to be new-CEO Tim Cook’s first dog & pony show on is own.  Let’s just say, for Apple’s standards, they probably would have like to have yesterday as a do-over.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

A Leadership AND Keyword Nugget – Passion

Hola Todos!

Mr. Mike has some leadership lessons for us but more importantly, he has a Nugget Keyword too – Passion.  Being a leader, a marketer, an entrepreneur, a professor, etc is not about luck.  Stuff doesn’t just fall out of the sky.  Hitting the lottery with a 1 in 500,000,000 chance does not accurately describe what we do or how we do it.  It’s about passion – that singularity of focus, the unwavering effort, the never say die attitude about what you are passionate about.

How do you know if you are passionate about something?  Does it keep you up at night?  Do you think about it all the time?  Do you talk to everyone about it? It’s a fire within you and you cannot put it out (nor would you want to).

John Maxwell, the author referenced below, is excellent and this book is an excellent read.  Check out Mr. Mike’s words of wisdom below.

Best

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

To:  The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

Georg Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher, wrote:  “”Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”  We have experienced this in our own life.  Take a moment.  Think of an event, situation or person that ignited a fire and passion within us to accomplish something beautiful and exciting.  It is a wonderful and majestic happening – an inspiration of genius that moves us to action. John Maxwell in his book, Power of Passion, shares four truths about passion:

Passion is the first step in achievement – the greater the fire, the greater the movement forward

Passion increases your willpower – the stronger the desire to achieve something, the stronger becomes the willpower to drive it forward

Passion changes you – it energizes all of you – the mind, body, heart and soul; its embers heighten our awareness to life

Passion makes the impossible possible – you see new potential in yourself and others; boundaries disappear or become irrelevant; new possibilities emerge

Passion moves, strengthens, changes and inspires, taking us and those we touch to new levels of performance and personal fulfillment.  Luisa Sigea, author, wrote: “Blaze with the fire that is never extinguished.”  May your week be filled with this fire, with the passion that drives you to reach your fullest potential.  If the embers are low, rekindle them.  Recall your dreams – the things that you love, what excites you, your life’s purpose.  In everything that you do or think, bring your passion to life.  Let its fire burn brightly so people see it in your eyes and on your face, hear it in your words and feel it in your energy and enthusiasm.  Be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and have fun doing it.

Have a beautiful day and an incredibly passionate week!!!

Mike

Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

 

How Big is the Universe – Scratch that, I mean the Internet?

Hola Todos!

I’m sure there are more than a handful of people that might confuse the Universe with the Internet.  The following story (click here) is excellent and highlights an effort to measure just how many pages there are on the Internet (e.g., how big is the Internet).

The project which will take a little more then a year to complete is being conducted by a group called the World Wide Web Foundation – with none other then the godfather of the modern HTML Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, running the show.

The foundation described the project as: “The Web Index will be the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web and its impact on people and nations. It will cover a large number of developed and developing countries, allowing for comparisons of trends over time and benchmarking performance across countries.”

Check it out when you get a chance (click here)

Best

Dr. Dan-o