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Innovate Benefits, Own the Future
David Morey -- Dedicated to Helping Companies Win David Morey -- Dedicated to Helping Companies Win
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Washington , DC
Thursday, October 17, 2019


17 Oct Innovate Benefits, Own the Future

What incredible benefits can we give to the customer?

—Steve Jobs

Innovating Innovation - Chapter 4It is 1997, his hair is long, and he wears a version of his signature black t-shirt, and faded and patched jeans that don’t quite fit, let alone stand the test of time. He is on stage, facing questions.

“Mr. Jobs, you are a bright and influential man,” a questioner begins.

There is an edge to his voice, and Steve Jobs instinctively picks up a stool and holds it up as if to defend himself. Is he being funny? Then he gulps some water from a bottle he’d rather throw at the questioner. He is not really being funny.

The man continues: “But it’s sad and clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Jobs pauses for an incredibly long ten seconds. You can see he is gathering himself, deliberately rejecting the pugilism of his younger self, who might have thrown first the bottle and then the stool at the inquisitor. Instead, Jobs moves into a more mature jiu-jitsu maneuver, beginning his response by agreeing with at least part of the statement just hurled at him. He really does not know what he’s talking about. That’s the point.

“One thing I’ve always found,” Jobs begins, “is you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it. And I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I’ve got the scar tissue to prove it.”

Jobs goes on to explain that, in trying to come up with a vision for Apple, he and his team asked: “What incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer? Not starting with ‘let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have and then how are we gonna market that?’ ”

Vice Chairman
Core Strategy Group
Washington, DC
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