Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Carmine Gallo on Steve Jobs

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Executive Interviews: Interview with Carmine Gallo on Steve Jobs
April 2010 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Carmine Gallo
Carmine Gallo,
communications coach for the world’s most admired brands.

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  • What does Steve Jobs mean to you? What does the brand ‘Steve Jobs’ stand for?
    Steve Jobs is the world’s most captivating storyteller. For more than three decades, he has turned product launches into an art form. His presentations, like his products, are simple, elegant and yes, beautifully compelling.

  • Many describe Steve Jobs as the greatest marketer ever. What are your impressions about Steve Jobs as a marketer? What is your assessment of Apple’s and i-series’ (iPod, iTunes, iPhone, etc) marketing strategies? How is it that, for all these years, one of the top-rated brands never had any brand ambassador?
    Steve Jobs is a great marketer because he starts with the customer in mind. He begins by asking questions like: what will make their lives better? What tools can we create to make their lives better? You see, it’s hard to market products that are created by engineers for engineers. Jobs’ marketing genius starts with the products themselves. They solve real problems.

  • In one of the widely watched and read speeches (Commencement address at Stanford, in 2005), Steve Jobs observed, “ Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do”. What specific qualities make Steve Jobs stand out as a unique and enigmatic leader? Was it his love for what he was doing or was it his love for what he created?
    I thought the 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech was one of the greatest speeches I’ve ever heard – and I’ve heard many. People look at Steve Jobs and ask themselves, what is the secret to his success? He gave it to you. Do what you love. Jobs, and his friend, Steve Wozniak, loved electronics. They enjoyed meeting at a local hobbyist club, The Homebrew Club, to talk about computers, electronics, and about how technology could improve people’s lives. Jobs loves designs. He once spent two weeks researching a washer/dryer for his family’s house, comparing European and American designs. These are the things that guided his life – computers, technology and design. If that’s not your calling, don’t expect to be the next Steve Jobs. But maybe you can be the Steve Jobs of your industry. Think about your dreams and, like Jobs said, follow your heart. It somehow already knows where it belongs.

  • It has been 32 long years since Steve Jobs and Steve Woznaik began selling the Apple II, the first commercially successful massproduced microcomputer. How do you look at all these years of Steve Jobs? What does this mean for the world of business?
    Even if you don’t own a Mac (and I just recently bought my first Macbook), you owe Steve Jobs a lot. He changed your life. He made the PC approachable and affordable. He introduced the first computer with windows icons, graphics, calligraphy and a mouse! He reinvented the way we enjoy our music. He reinvented telecommunications. He reinvented animation with Pixar. And he’s on his way to opening an entire new class of computers with the iPad. His technology has touched all of us.

  • What distinguishes Steve Jobs 1, the young man who started Apple, and Steve Jobs 2, the guy who came back to Apple and turned it around?
    Steve Jobs has said that being “fired” was the best thing that could have happened to him. It forced him to have a “beginner’s mind” again. He returned to the most creative period in his life. Some people buckle in the face of adversity; Jobs thrived. He used the setback as a learning opportunity and came back stronger, more focused and committed to the customer.

  • While Randall E Stross (the author of Steve Jobs & The NeXt Big Thing)described Steve Jobs as, “arrogantly oblivious”, “unmerciful”, and an “unapologetic snob” who is “imprisoned…by his selected historical memory”, others describe him as “the perfectionist”, “sets expectations for quality, challenging the status quo.. and never accepts no for an answer”, “too good a human being” and “unparalleled institutional builder”, etc. Who is the true Steve Jobs?
    Stross comments seem harsh. I’d like to ask Stross, what was Jobs oblivious to? He knows what consumers will want well before the consumers themselves. He has revolutionized numerous industries – computers, telecom, music, and movies. I’ve heard stories about Jobs in his youth and I don’t think I would have wanted to work for him when he was in twenties. But I also know people who have partnered with him in the last few years and found him to be very generous.

  • Commenting on Steve Jobs, Andy Grove said, “There’s no other company in technology that’s started with a strong core business and developed another very strong one. The rest of us are lucky, or good (if we’re) right once”. How could Steve Jobs be right more than once? Was it his predictive abilities or iconoclastic arrogance that helped him become successful more than once?
    Steve Jobs doesn’t use focus groups. Instead, he inspires his team to create products they would like to use. He once said that he and Wozniak built the Apple II for themselves and their peers. Jobs asks himself, What is it about a design experience that I would enjoy?” For example, Apple introduced the touchscreen for mobile phones in 2007 with the iPhone. He challenged his design team by asking what they wanted in a Smart Phone experience. Nobody liked using a stylus. Instead, they wanted to use a stylus that they were born with – their fingers. Jobs then hires the best people in the world to help his vision come to life.

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