I’ve just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography of Steve Jobs and I know I’m coming late to that party but one thing that the book really highlighted to me about Steve Jobs’s approach was how he strove for simplicity in everything Apple did.
Jobs is rightly lauded for his beautifully minimalistic product design but what is less well known perhaps is how he ruthlessly stripped away complexity in everything Apple did – from stores to office space to marketing to commercial relationships to product lines and design.
After his second coming Jobs famously held a whiteboard session at Apple where he drew a two-by-two grid. Above the columns he wrote: “Consumer” and “Pro.” He then labeled the rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” He told the team that their job was to create four great products, one for each quadrant. All other products were to be scrapped.
In 1997 Jobs rebranded and relaunched Apple with a marketing campaign based on just two words – “Think Different”. For him it needed be a lot simpler than the reams of copy describing products and features that was the norm at the time.
Once the (iPod) project was launched Jobs immersed himself in it daily. His main demand was “Simplify!” – Walter Isaacson.
Steve Jobs’s legacy to Apple was to put simplicity in its’ DNA and I don’t think it’s coincidence that Apple are now the world’s most valuable company.
(By the way Google..what have you done to AdWords? Simple it ain’t).