Archive for March, 2008

Fortune interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs


Be sure to carve out a a few minutes today to read the Fortune interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs (link to article). A few quotes I really liked:

Product development & market research
“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.”So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me “A faster horse.” ‘ “

Apple retail stores
“It was very simple. The Mac faithful will drive to a destination, right? They’ll drive somewhere special just to do that. But people who own Windows – we want to convert them to Mac. They will not drive somewhere special. They don’t think they want a Mac. They will not take the risk of a 20-minute drive in case they don’t like it.

“But if we put our store in a mall or on a street that they’re walking by, and we reduce that risk from a 20-minute drive to 20 footsteps, then they’re more likely to go in because there’s really no risk. So we decided to put our stores in high-traffic locations. And it works.”

Authentic Traditions In Business


Habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically. Stopping at the same place for coffee each morning on the way to work or grocery shopping every Monday evening are consumer habits.

Tradition is also repeated behavior, but it’s driven by emotion and the positive feelings of prior experiences – tradition just “feels right.” While we usually just go through the motions with habit, we’re more willing to modify our typical routines for tradition.

Unfortunately, many businesses think tradition is just their yearly schedule of sales (spring sale, 4th of July sale, etc.). The businesses and organizations that understand tradition (and people’s affinity for tradition) transition from being just stores into brands with loyal followings.

Need some ideas of how to integrate tradition into your business? Here’s what others have done:

  • The Boy Scouts
    Each year after Christmas the Boy Scouts drive through town and pick-up old Christmas trees. For a few bucks I save the hassle of getting rid of my tree and support a great organization. I know that for probably the rest of my life I can count on the scouts to pick up my tree. For the scouts, picking up trees is consistent with their core value of public service and also acts a fundraiser for their organization.
  • Hardware Sales
    For as long as I can remember, Hardware Sales has given fifty-cent pieces in its change instead of two quarters. There’s no cost in doing this, it’s memorable and it fits perfectly with who they are and what it’s like to shop there.
  • Les Schwab
    For over 20 years Les Schwab has run an annual promotion giving away free beef with every new set of tires. The promotion has a down-to-earth legacy and conveys the unique working-man roots of the Les Schwab brand.

In addition to each having traditions that correspond with their core values the Boy Scouts, Hardware Sales and Les Schwab traditions all have something else in common: If any of them ever stopped their tradition people would notice and complain. That means they’re doing something right.