Tag Archives: apple

Flowers for a CEO

6 Oct

I heard the news of Steve Jobs passing along with countless others, on Twitter. A lone questioning tweet appeared, then a trickle, then the news cascaded down the stream. If you had just arrived on earth to witness it you’d be forgiven for thinking a beloved humanitarian fighting injustice and suffering had been assassinated.

Steve Jobs Apple silhouetteAs Apple’s figurehead and spokesman he didn’t invent any of Apple’s industry changing products, nor did he design them, he was the CEO. Which makes it all the more incredible that customers fans have been leaving flowers outside Apple stores in remembrance and people from countries all over the world are still flooding social networks with micro memorials.

Steve Jobs wasn’t just one of the greatest American CEOs, he was a true visionary.

The people who knew him describe his relentless drive to innovate, to push the people he worked with to improve every aspect of what they were working on, to do things differently. Not to give people what they wanted, but to bring them new products that they would love.

That he did this at the expense of profit led to him being fired by the Apple board in 1985. His return with his visionary leadership style intact made Apple what it is today. That’s what makes him one of the greatest American CEOs, but that doesn’t explain the genuine grief evident in the social sphere.

For me that’s explained in his ability to elevate form over function in a world that is increasingly focused on ROI, efficiency & the ruthless pursuit of cost-cutting.

We have an emotional response to design in a way we never will with an list of impressive specifications. With his drive, every Apple product touched by his vision shines. It’s what led Apple to be elevated to not just a global company, but a movement. And movements are driven by emotion. Few people leave such an amazing legacy.


Can Mobile Advertising Work?

15 Apr



Apple recently introduced a new method of embedding ads into their new media darlings, the iPhone and the iPad.  The ad delivery is integrated into the operating system of the phone, which will enable 3rd party developers to create ads around the apps. 

According to Apple, one exciting part of this process is the ability to merge the emotion that traditional media ads provide with the interactivity that online advertising can offer.  The ads can be part game, part ad, part  video and more – the opportunities are out there for programmers to create some interesting ads.  Since the user won’t need to leave the app to action the ad, the expectation is an increased level of engagement.

Apple is betting that search based ads will not see the success that desktop based searches have had (Google has something different to say – and is currently testing a mobile search product), and with the integration of the ad framework directly into the OS of the mobile devices, you can expect to see a flurry of activity in the app world in the next few weeks. 

The ads will be managed and hosted by Apple, who will keep 40% of the split.  There are even some interesting patent rumors about subsidized hardware, where the equipment will shut down if the user doesn’t interact with the ads.

Are integrated apps the way to go?  Will you be inclined to pay full price for an app when there is a much cheaper, ad-supported option?  What about your customers – which one will they choose? 

With an estimated one billion impressions each day by this summer, this is probably something to think about before your competition does.

iPad = More Caviar

28 Jan


Apple iPad, giant iPhone, iTablet, iLaptop, iNetbook, If you know me, you’re already aware that if there’s a bandwagon – I’m probably going to jump on it.  So when the official announcement about Apple’s newest toy came out yesterday, I was giddy as a school girl. 

Here’s a quick look back to see how Apple was able to go from a niche product, with hardcore fans, to a product that the rest of the market struggles to keep up with – and many more hardcore fans (lovingly referred to as Fanbois).

On Dec 5, 2000, Apple announced that their Q1 revenue was expected to be around $1 billion, with a net loss of between $220 – $225 million, and expectations for fiscal 2001 were to be around $6 – $6.5 billion.

I love this quote from the May 21 edition of Business Week :

Jobs’s focus on selling just a few consumer Macs has helped boost profits, but it is keeping Apple from exploring potential new markets. And his perfectionist attention to aesthetics has resulted in beautiful but pricey products with limited appeal outside the faithful: Apple’s market share is a measly 2.8%. "Apple’s problem is it still believes the way to grow is serving caviar in a world that seems pretty content with cheese and crackers," gripes former Chief Financial Officer Joseph Graziano.

Damn those folks at Apple – wanting to give you more than you expected…

On October 23, 2001, the day Apple announced the first iPod, who would have guessed that in less than a decade Apple would become synonymous with usability, innovation, and effective branding.

With generation after generation, the iPod continued to evolve with the rest of the Apple offerings.  By either providing more innovation or a decreased price, and sometimes both, Apple was able to expand their fan base exponentially.  Continuing to provide caviar to those willing to try it.

Apple had two big announcements this week, the second was the much heralded iPad, but the real announcement came at the beginning of the week “If you annualize our quarterly revenue, it’s surprising that Apple is now a $50+ billion company,” said Mr Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “ I don’t think anyone is really that surprised.

There are two ways to look at this:

  1. Steve Jobs is a visionary; a strategic master guaranteed to succeed
  2. Steve Jobs is the luckiest SOB on the planet

If you want to be the Steve Jobs on your team, do you have a plan to evolve your brand, or are you planning on being lucky?

Do you have any caviar for your customers?