Apple’s Secret

Lead, don’t follow

Even in France last week, everyone was eagerly awaiting the first glimpse of the new Apple iPad.

There’s been a lot of studies over the years about how Steve Jobs and Apple continue to create these amazing, new products.

And this article, from the Harvard Business Review, notes something very interesting: “Insights do not move from users to Apple, but the other way around. More than Apple listening to us, it’s us who listen to Apple.

While most of us are joining the long line of those wanting to involve our “customers” — listeners, viewers, readers — in our creative process, because we’ve been told by all the experts that this is what they expect, what they demand today, a voice in the process, Apple is doing the exact opposite.

They are not, to our knowledge, convening focus groups of people to critique MP3 players, or Kindle readers.

Apple is not trying to improve existing things.

Apple is creating totally new things and then showing us, proving to us, why we need them.

User-centered innovation is perfect to drive incremental innovation, but hardly generates breakthroughs. In fact, it does not question existing needs, but rather reinforces them…

Isn’t this one of the fundamental problems we in Radio and TV (and print too, for that matter) face?

We can’t research our way out of our decline, which is why no radio company created Pandora, no TV company created YouTube, and no publishing house created the Kindle.

We’re too busy protecting, trying to protect, what we have and know.

Where are our visionaries who create content so powerful we can’t miss it?

I think they’re still here. I just think the guys running Radio and TV these days don’t value them, don’t listen to them, and see them as a gigantic pain in the ass and waste of money.

So, transport yourself back to the 70s when Jobs and  Wozniak were making a different kind of machine in a garage. That led to everything that Apple has become, including PIXAR animation.

And imagine some kid today working in his or her dorm room, maybe not even in the US, but in India or China or France, not knowing what they’re not supposed to be able to do, not putting fences around ideas because of conventional wisdom, and you will find the future of content creation and distribution.

He, or she, may already have it up and running.

As my friends, Allan Hotlen, and Maryam SALEHI would say, from my mouth to God’s ears…




Too see the Apple demo of its new iPad click this link and learn a bit about marketing too…