Thursday, October 06, 2011

Do Different

(Aka - Why Steve Jobs would have made a brilliant planner)

I am well known as someone who stays away from the hype around apple products. I have never owned an iPhone, Mac nor iPad. Yet it is impossible even still not to be saddened by the death of Steve Jobs at just 56.

When google and Microsoft link to a competitor's homepage, when people are genuinely sad at the passing of someone they never met, when millions of people learnt about it on devices he created; you realise this was someone of the like we will probably never see again.

Whatever your personal view on their products, it is hard to get away from the simple fact that Steve Jobs changed the world. His personal desire and intelligence brought the world products that simply stood out a mile from the competition. His confidence in his beliefs meant he never backed into launching products for market gaps, he acted like a great planner and took insight and used it to see the gaps no one else could see.

Not only that, he allowed the creative people around him to use their creativity. He respected their work, and as long as it met with the vision he trusted them to do their job. You only have to look at the work Pixar do to see the effect. He may have been tough to work for, but how many geniuses were easy bosses?

The use of intuition and his innate understanding of how people work were characteristics that any planner would be proud of; it's great to have the data, great to have the facts and figures, but the ability to take a leap from there is what seperates the great from the good.

We need more brave planners, more leap planning. To show the world (and especially our creative departments) that what we do isn't all about charts and numbers, it's about insight and pushing the industry forward. What better role model? Instantly any creative will understand what that means and how you want to work; that you want to help creatives and make people respond better to your campaigns and ideas.

It's easy to be the same, to do what everyone else does. Being different takes bravery, strength and belief. It's not just about thinking different, it's about doing different. Just like Bernbach, just like Webster.

So let's be insightful, intuitive, bold and determined. Let's progress our industry, and in a small way take inspiration from the man who took the computer from a scientific machine to what we use every day in our homes and our pockets; and who gave us the best film studio of the last 50 years.

Let's plan like Steve Jobs.

7 comments:

toto said...

easy tiger

Rob Mortimer said...

Ha!
Well I always bitch about apple so I figure I owe them a nice post!

toto said...

I see. But why you have never owned a thing from Apple ? You took that message "think different" very seriously don't you ?

Personally i haven't owned a thing from Apple too. Because i don't have too much money and i listen to my cousin who works as a system administrator and is into computers and all that stuff. He told me that there is nothing special about apple products.

Ok i own one, an Ipod mp3 player. But i asked my sister for it for my birthday because otherwise as always she would send me flowers and a bottle of cheap bubbly (She lives in the usa and i live in Lithuania). But i wanted an ipod just to experience the packaging. I've read a lot about it. So i got it on my birthday, opened it, touched it, felt it, used it for two or three days and after i lent it to my friend.

Now i have a question. If you, me and my cousin don't use Apple products, why the hell all are so obsessed with it ? Who are those strangers ? And i'm very fucken serious here. I have some thoughts about it. But maybe you sir could explain this (as detailed as you can). Friendly Advice: Do a trilogy on your blog - three posts about how Apple made people crazy about it. I think you owe them more than this bloody post!

Rob Mortimer said...

Well, I own an iPod. I've never owned a Mac because I play too many games on my PC, and never owned an iPhone because they are far too expensive for what they are.

To be honest I write all of my posts with an air of discussion rather than taking things too seriously (though it may sound that way!).

The obsession is because even as non-users they change the way all the products we buy are. PC design, Windows XP/Vista/7, mobile design, mobile function, the concept of having a PC in your home... all of these things stem from Apple (and Xerox).

More so, I think it's right that visionary people are respected for their efforts.

northern said...

I'm sorry, I don't think he was a visionary, as you say, he was a great marketing guy who knew that making his toys/image statements (and that's what the are really aren't they) beautiful and easy to use would sell squillions.
He didn't invent the internet.
He didn't invent the web.
He didn't invent MP3's
Those were the 'life changing' inventions at the end of the last century and the start of this one.
Those are the ones that compare with real 'life changing' inventions like the moveable type, mass produced motor cars, telegraph or the TV.
Don't get me wrong, I liked Apple. But a 'life changing' visionary would not worl obsolescnence into his inventions if he really cared about changing the world.
Apple,of course, used a great book, 1984 as a metaphor for their approach, and back then, it fit. I'd say these days, I'd choose animal farm and Apple is the pig that began to behave like the humans.

Rob Mortimer said...

I see where you are coming from, and I agree to much of the way they have changed as a company.

Yet I have to disagree on the impact. Without the idea of 'a computer for the average home' which was primarily led by the Apple II we wouldn't even have use for the internet.

He didn't invent mp3's, but he/they created the first viable legal distribution system, and the an mp3 player that gave you the means to truly appreciate the free flow of music. The way we listen to music has changed, the impact of ipod and itunes is bigger than that of the Walkman.

I get that they didn't always 'invent' but they saw how to make things work and understood people and how to make things accessible.

Maybe he didn't create one huge mega invention (though the concept of the home computer surely is) but over 30 years the sum of those ideas and inventions is much much bigger than the sum of the parts.

toto said...

thank you for answering. i learned something, honestly.