We produce our share of great content, but Greentech Media comes across thought-provoking stories from all over the world, and this column allows us to share some of those stories. In this edition of On Our Reading List, we depart from our usual path to offer some non-greentech stories.
Here's Guy Kawasaki on what he learned from Steve Jobs:
What I Learned From Steve Jobs
Many people have explained what one can learn from Steve Jobs. But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced firsthand what it was like to work with him. I don’t want any lessons to be lost or forgotten, so here is my list of the top twelve lessons that I learned from Steve Jobs.
Experts are clueless.
Experts -- journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers, and gurus -- can’t “do,” so they “advise.” They can tell you what is wrong with your product, but they cannot make a great one. They can tell you how to sell something, but they cannot sell it themselves. They can tell you how to create great teams, but they only manage a secretary. For example, the experts told us that the two biggest shortcomings of Macintosh in the mid-1980s was the lack of a daisy-wheel printer driver and Lotus 1-2-3; another advice gem from the experts was to buy Compaq. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.
Customers cannot tell you what they need.
“Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper” -- that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can only describe their desires in terms of what they are already using -- around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all people said they wanted was better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machines. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use -- that’s what Steve and Woz did.
Jump to the next curve.
Big wins happen when you go beyond better sameness. The best daisy-wheel printer companies were introducing new fonts in more sizes. Apple introduced the next curve: laser printing. Think of ice harvesters, ice factories, and refrigerator companies. Ice 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Are you still harvesting ice during the winter from a frozen pond?
The biggest challenges beget best work.
I lived in fear that Steve would tell me that I, or my work, was crap. In public. This fear was a big challenge. Competing with IBM and then Microsoft was a big challenge. Changing the world was a big challenge. I, and Apple employees before me and after me, did their best work because we had to do our best work to meet the big challenges.
Steve drove people nuts with his design demands -- some shades of black weren’t black enough. Mere mortals think that black is black, and that a trash can is a trash can. Steve was such a perfectionist -- a perfectionist Beyond: Thunderdome -- and lo and behold, he was right: some people care about design and many people at least sense it. Maybe not everyone, but the important ones.
You can’t go wrong with big graphics and big fonts.
Take a look at Steve’s slides. The font is sixty points. There’s usually one big screenshot or graphic. Look at other tech speaker’s slides -- even the ones who have seen Steve in action. The font is eight points, and there are no graphics. So many people say that Steve was the world’s greatest product introduction guy...don’t you wonder why more people don’t copy his style?
Read more of Kawasaki's lessons here.
This photo from Mike Matas' Facebook page: "A series of photos Steve [Jobs] took in my office testing Photo Booth filters in 2005. Rest in peace."
Lux Reseach ranks the players in the lithium-ion battery market and pronounces LG Chem Power and a number of Asian suppliers in the leadership position, while Altair Nanotechnologies, International Battery, and A123 are ranked as "Caution" and "Strong Caution." Vinod Khosla did not come off as an A123 supporter in a recent presentation, either.
John Hempton of Bronte Capital with an entertaining if arguable take on Trina Solar's finances. Includes reference to The Clash, FTW.
From Energy.gov: Geobacter sulfurreducens is a bacteria that can bioremediate uranium and petroleum compounds like oil. Scientists are starting to understand how it gets that done.
From Slate: Spend one last, perfect day with your dying dog.