Tag Archives: iPod

A lesson from Apple on reputation

Apple is once again telling the world that it’s a User Experience company that just so happens to make consumer electronic products. Apple is reportedly working on a way to sync iPods with iTunes wirelessly. It’s just another step in Apple’s steady march toward making wires and cords a thing of the past.

A few days ago I was making room behind my desk for the laptop, external HDD and speaker wires. As I was rearranging I started pondering how long it would take until we live in a world without wires and who would take us there.

My first thought was Apple.

What I find interesting, is that if any other ‘consumer electronics company’ would set out to eliminate wires, it probably would not be a big deal. You kind of get the idea that if Microsoft would be the first to remove wires from our lives, that they would screw it up in some way. Therefore eliminating our excitement for the ‘new experience’.

Because we know Steve Jobs to be a perfectionist, we know and trust that Apple will deliver the goods. The new experience.

And we actually want Apple to be the one to do it. Not Microsoft. Not HP. Not Dell.



Because their reputation precedes them in the area of creating great consumer products that are as much about the experience we have as what we use them for. It is this reputation that sets them apart. It is now hardwired onto our brains that Apple creates the best consumer electronics products period.

Heck, some of us are starting to wish they should start making cars just for fun.

User experience is all about removing obstacles. Eliminating extra steps that don’t add any value. Apple is a user experience champion. They own it.

They’ve become the ‘most’ at delighting and exciting us with their products. This is key.

Like Fast Company founder, Bill Taylor, says:

You can’t be “pretty good” at everything anymore. You have to be the most of something: the most affordable, the most accessible, the most elegant, the most colorful, the most transparent. Companies used to be comfortable in the middle of the road — that’s where all the customers were. Today, the middle of the road is the road to ruin. What are you the most of?

With that said, we would all do well and learn from Apple and begin thinking about what we want to be known for. Because if we get to such a place, this is where Greatness is forged.

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No competition = No innovation?

Can there be innovation without competition?

David Armano posited this question on his blog and I thought I add my own thoughts to the question and hopefully incite some useful discussion.

I actually think there is innovation without competition. If we all lived in a perfect world it would be pretty boring. More of the same. Who would want to like in a world like that? Not me.

The type of innovation Armano is talking about is incremental innovation. The type that leads to tit-for-tat. One firm outdoing, outworking the other one. Think line extensions and upgrades.

Both Google and Facebook are incremental innovations. Improvements over the originals. They’re simply better executed ideas than the originals. Head to head competition is never smart, it’s tit-for-tat ego driven BS that leads to predictable outcomes. Red Oceans.

The type of innovation that exists without competition is disruptive. This type of innovation is often driven by external sources, not direct competition. A recent example of what could potentially disrupt the banking industry is BankSimple. The guy who started it is not a banker (equity researcher), he was just pissed off at the complexity that is banking and decided to create an alternative.

Another example of disruptive innovation is the iPod, the Kindle, XM Satellite Radio. We could argue that Groupon is a form of disruption as it makes it possible for people to experience new things when they might not have because of price, while at the same time providing merchants with an infusion of new clients.

We could also argue that Jack Dorsey‘s newest venture, Square, can potentially disrupt the financial services space by enabling any individual or small business to accept credit cards for any product or service at any time in any place for no cost. Very powerful.

An example of a disruptive idea in direct competition (a rarity) is the Nintendo Wii because it made video games accessible to non-consumers (moms, dads).

Put simply, if you see possibilities where no one else does; you can innovate where there is no competition. But the best type of innovation though, is to go where there is no competition and define the terms of competition. To create a Blue Ocean.

What do you think, can there be innovation without competition? Do you agree with my examples? What other examples come to mind?

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Laser focused products are more emotional

steve jobs

This post isn’t about Steve Jobs, it’s about emotion and how to create it with your product.

When I was a kid I would spend endless hours reading magazines at supermarkets or bookstores. From PC Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Game Pro, National Geographic, Road & Track, SLAM, you name it. At one point I had subscriptions to 15 different magazines that I got in the mail, my mom wasn’t too happy about it. And she also wasn’t happy because I kept them all well after I read them.

Out of all the magazines I read, the one’s I look more forward to reading were the ones about cars. I just loved (and still do) reading Road & Track’s car reviews because of how they described their car experience, I can still remember some of the words used in the .

Words like: ‘staggering power’ when pushing the accelerator, ‘stratospheric’ when talking about horsepower, ‘opera-esque’ when describing the sound of the engine, ‘astonishing’ when describing the car…you get the picture. So what’s the big deal? Well the fact that I’m telling you about it today and remember it is telling. Emotions are hard to forget and even though I’ve never driven these cars, the vivid descriptions make me feel as though I almost did.

I know what you’re thinking, we already know benefits trump features. Yup, but how?


Jeremy Clarkson, host of Top Gear, is a like a little kid when talking about cars. It’s all emotion. Even if you aren’t a car fanatic you’ll love them after hearing Clarkson, just like in the video below where he drives the Ferrari Enzo. Tell me it doesn’t get your blood moving?

Did you notice how he mentions the word ‘focus’ to the describe how the car’s interior doesn’t distract you from driving? If you own and iPod, iPhone or iPad then you know what I mean. Steve Jobs is the master at creating emotions for Apple products. He makes it sound so genuine because his products satisfy him. So when he gives a keynote speech, he’s like a little kid talking to you about his new toy. Emotional!

Google did the same thing with Chrome. It’s laser focused on enabling us to browse the web faster. The user interface has only what’s necessary to browse and it makes you almost feel like the browser isn’t even there. That’s focus!

Another example I’ll give you to chew on is how describes how the new makes it’s driver feel: confident. Confident that you can get the best lap times and win the race. That’s what they really care about.

And with that last paragraph I get to the intent of this post: Focused products are more emotional. People don’t care about your products features, they care about what it does for them. And the way to do that is by making your product laser focused on satisfying that job.

In the Enzo’s case the job is driving, in the iPod’s case it’s carrying all your music in your pocket. They eliminated all the things that can ‘distract’ from satisfying that job.

Thoughts? Do you think products that are laser focused on satisfying a specific job more emotional?

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