As everyone in the world now knows, Steve Jobs passed away on Wednesday after a long fight with pancreatic cancer. Not one person I know wasn’t affected in some way and maybe even felt a sense of personal loss considering he was the most influential CEO in history. Almost everyone I know has a product manufactured by the global juggernaut named Apple. In fact, I found out the news that he passed on Twitter while using my iPhone. I’m sure there was no other way Steve would want it.
When you think of how Jobs’ vision has transformed a majority of industries including music, smartphones and tablets, you realize how far of a reach he and Apple really has. Oh yeah, they also make some of the best computers in the world – another feather to add to Jobs’ proverbial cap.
As impressive as all that is, that’s not what impressed me the most about Steve Jobs and that’s not what I’m writing this blog about today. What I want to talk about was what separated him from everyone else – his passion. The passion for his company, his products and his belief that Apple makes the best products in the world was almost contagious to his employees and customers. His passion is what separated himself from virtually every other technology guru and entrepreneur.
He truly believed that his way was the best way, and while some people called him difficult or neurotic, when I think of Steve Jobs, there is only one word that comes to mind – genius. He realized that the key to making mainstream products was to make them three things: beautiful, functional and simple. Those three items are what separates Apple from all the rest. And while the rest of the competitors try to catch up, Apple has made such an impression on consumers that the people who own Apple products likely won’t stray from them.
From a personal perspective, Jobs’ passion for his products has helped me be a better marketer. When he would deliver a keynote, you could always tell the excitement in his voice when he was announcing something because he really invested his own time into it. When I first started at Sapling, I was in the technical support department and really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. As I started to learn more about the theory of marketing, I also realized how much I enjoyed it and that I was sure that was what I wanted to do with my life.
While most marketers will tell you that the tactics that have made Apple successful are the exception, not the rule, there are some principles that all companies can use. While Apple and Sapling cater to two completely different customers, we do have some commonality in our principles:
- Design – One aspect that Jobs changed at Apple was his vision that it wasn’t just the function that consumers wanted; they wanted it to look good too. Sapling feels the same way. While most clocks have an industrial, bland look, Sapling has been modernizing and creating a beautiful family of clock lines that will appeal to customers. Now, we won’t say that Apple is the reason why we did that, but I think their influence to the entire world proved that it’s more than just function that people want.
- Reliability – Most Mac owners will tell you that one reason they spend more money on their Apple products is because they don’t replace them as often. Jobs’ wanted to make sure that Apple made products that would last a long time that people would feel comfortable spending the extra money for. While the pricing models are completely different since we sell completely different products, we do believe very much in the reliability aspect of our products. We try to make every product to last, so when our customers buy from Sapling, they don’t just get a clock – they get peace of mind as well.
- Passion – This one is a given for Steve Jobs, but his passion for his company has fueled mine for Sapling’s products. It’s great to work at a company where everyone has the same focus and passion for what we do as I do. Whether you talk with me, our sales reps, production department or our shipper, we all have a passion for what we do and that’s something that cannot be taught or learned. That’s just a feeling and an internal desire to want to be great.
The world hasn’t even realized yet how much Steve Jobs and Apple have changed our everyday lives. Some people get it, others don’t. Some people don’t see what the big deal is about Apple or Steve Jobs. But every time they download a song on their iPod, make a call on their iPhone, use iTunes to buy music, watch streaming television on their AppleTV, or get the chance to use a Mac, one day they might understand the everlasting impact that Steve Jobs had on this world. Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs. Well done.