Do better sameness?

“Do better sameness.”

That’s a comment from Guy Kawasaki, made starting a discussion about what he learned from Steve Jobs. It refers to what some advisors will tell you to do – ie: improve incrementally.

Improving incrementally is a fine thing to strive for on a daily/weekly basis, but not so much on an annual basis. Incremental improvement really can’t be the only thing you do if you are attempting to revolutionize a market, “change the world” (or some aspect of it) and the like.

This talk was given the day after Steve’s death.

Guy’s list 

  • Don’t listen to “experts/gurus”, particularly if that’s how they describe themselves. Experts who *are doing* or have done what you want to do – that’s another story entirely.
  • Customers cannot tell you what they need. You can ask customers how to improve something, but you cannot ask them how to revolutionize something. It’s not their focus. There are exceptions, of course. If you meet a customer who has this sort of vision, listen, discuss, brainstorm with them.
  • The biggest challenges beget the best work. Guy indicated this is the reason why Apple employees love working there. They get to do their life’s work.
  • Design counts, especially in a world defined by price. He includes quality as a component of design, just so you aren’t focused solely on elegance and the like.
  • Use big graphics and a big font.
  • Jump curves. Be 10 times better, not 10% better. Ice factory to refrigerator. Telegraph to telephone. Daisy wheel printers to laser printers. Dan Kennedy talks about the best businesses skipping rungs in the ladder while competitors improve rung by rung – same thing.
  • All that really matters is that something “works” or “doesn’t work”.
  • Value is different from price.
  • “A” players hire “A” or “A+” players. “B” players hire “C” players. “C” players hire “D” players. Guy calls this the “bozo explosion.”  Hire people that are better than you at whatever position. People who can be micro-managed are not A/A+ players.
  • Real CEOs can demo – which means they can not only speak well with a crowd but understand the user experience their products provide.
  • Real entrepreneurs ship, not slip.
  • Some things need to be believed to be seen.

Definitely worth a listen. Watching it isn’t really necessary as there are no slides in Guy’s talk, but you might miss some important little nuggets if you don’t focus on Guy’s comments.

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