Archive for the ‘steve jobs’ tag
Paul Higgins wonders if we should oppose the Tumblr acquisition by Yahoo:
Paul Higgins, The Community, Tumblr and Yahoo – Do we Protest?
There are a couple of services that are really important to my life and my business. One of them is Tumblr and the other is Evernote. In promoting Evernote for example I often tell people that if Microsoft buys it I will retire. That is because it has become so important to my work flow and because of my view that large corporations hardly ever get these sort of services right.
Tumblr is equally important to me in a different way and I am part of the community and honoured to be one of the Tech editors, and have almost 200,000 followers.
There are rumours going around that Yahoo is in negotiations to buy Tumblr which worries me a hell of a lot. Let me be clear that I have no problems with the founders and investors making money off the contributions of the community but I worry what would happen to Tumblr in the hands of a large entity.
In a world where business models like these require both the founders and investors to contribute and create but the community to contribute and create as well, valuations and business strategies have a different flavour. No community and there is no business valuation. If you have similar concerns then please reblog or like this post. I intend such support to be a signal to both Tumblr and Yahoo (if the rumours are true) that the community is concerned and should be involved in the decision making process. Maybe that is thinking with delusions of grandeur or maybe it isn’t – over to you the community to decide.
I like Paul, and I can understand his concerns, but I don’t think we should protest this acquisition, but instead welcome it.
Tumblr is confronted with the growing attention of its most direct competitors — Facebook and Twitter — both of which have large and well-established management teams. Also, it’s not so obvious competitors — Google and Microsoft — are waiting in the wings to buy or copy Tumblr. In a way reminiscent of Zuckerberg, David Karp is a young man under intense pressure to grow what he stated in high school into a company that will pay back today’s investors 10X or more on an $800M valuation. Oh, and keep a growing, fickle, and international community of users coming back for more. His genius has certainly been focused toward building the Tumblr architecture and staying close to his vision. But he doesn’t necessarily have the skill set, the team, or the inclination to do all the things needed for the next 10X growth. He may turn out to be Steve Jobs, but that remains to be seen.
My worry is that he could wind up bringing in someone promising as COO, to help push forward, Karp may wind up being Mitch Kapor at Lotus, who hired Jim Manzi, and wound up losing the battle for the office suite to a late-to-the-game Microsoft. Or creating something like the Sculley mess a Apple.
Despite my concerns about Marissa Mayer’s ‘no remote work’ edict — which can be read most generously as an effort to reanimate a dispirited organizational culture, and less generously as an effort to indoctrinate the Yahoos with a top-down, Googlish entrepreneurial fervor — she has been making good acquisitions in the past months, and I believe that she has the chops to help Tumblr crack the code of advertising.
Mayer’s tenure at Google would translate into the skills needed to support Tumblr in growth on the operational side — keeping the service up and humming — and working to make revenue flow. Also, by selling at the price that Yahoo is willing to pay, today, to suit Yahoo’s needs, Karp, his investors, and his team will be able to decrease or obviate the possibility of bad technical or strategic decisions later, forced by the need to grow revenue or execute a dubious liquidity path. That turn of events is the one I worry about most, not becoming another Flickr in Yahoo’s bullpen.
So, for what ever negligible influence I might have on events, I cast my hypomythical ballot in favor of this deal, because chance are it could turn out great, and a purchase by Microsoft, or the possibility of a Lotus turn of events two years from now, for example, worries me much more.
This infographic tells the life story of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs in a series of photographs that retrace his steps from his birthplace in San Francisco to his final resting place in Alta Mesa.
Many of Jobs’s milestones happened in California, but his company made its way across the U.S. before becoming a global phenomenon. Apple’s main campus has been in Cupertino, California since 1993; the first retail store actually opened in Tysons Corner, Virginia in May 2011.
See more details in this infographic by CheapFlights.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Apple iCloud services for identity, Game Center, account creation and sign-in, iTunes store purchases are experiencing service failures this morning for some users, Apple says on its system status page.
iCloud is Apple’s cloud service that stores data like calendar events, mail, bookmarks, photos, and iPhone and iPad backups in Apple’s datacenters, and then syncs it across all your Apple devices. It also includes critical services like Find my iPhone, which helps you locate lost devices, and Back to my Mac, which allows you to access your laptop or desktop for critical information while using a mobile device like an iPad.
According to Apple’s system status page, the iCloud failures have been occurring this morning from 4:30AM PST to now. But they may go back farther than today — yesterday my events from Calendar, Apple’s built-in scheduling tool, were not syncing with the calendar on my iPhone.
Apparently I’m not the only one.
AppleID failures are critical issues, since if you cannot sign into your Apple identity, it’s difficult to do anything with iCloud, including setting up a new device, or simply signing into your own account. According to 9to5Mac, Apple’s iCloud services have been experiencing major outages every couple of weeks.
The current outages remind me of Apple’s original cloud and syncing service, MobileMe, which was notoriously unfriendly and unreliable … and of how Steve Jobs dealt with the situation in 2008:
Jobs walked in, clad in his trademark black mock turtleneck and blue jeans, clasped his hands together, and asked a simple question: “Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?” Having received a satisfactory answer, he continued, “So why the fuck doesn’t it do that?”
For the next half-hour Jobs berated the group. “You’ve tarnished Apple’s reputation,” he told them. “You should hate each other for having let each other down.” The public humiliation particularly infuriated Jobs. Walt Mossberg, the influential Wall Street Journal gadget columnist, had panned MobileMe. “Mossberg, our friend, is no longer writing good things about us,” Jobs said. On the spot, Jobs named a new executive to run the group.
I’ve asked Apple for a comment on the ongoing situation and will update this post as I learn more.
Big tribes, rich tribes, tribes that change elections or root for sports teams get a ton of press. It’s easy to imagine that all the slots leading these glamorous groups are already taken. While we might aspire to be the next Steve Jobs or Jon Stewart, we can fall into the trap of believing that these are roles are reserved for other people. And we’re probably right. Leading the masses isn’t a gig that comes along very often.
Josh Hanagarne is standing up to lead a different tribe… His new book (out in May) chronicles his lifelong battle with Tourette’s (and I use the word ‘battle’ carefully). This book is funny and poignant and brave, and it will inspire and connect millions of people who have previously felt uninspired and disconnected. It’s fascinating to see that his fellow librarians (a different, but also underserved tribe), are lining up in droves to support his work. It’s worth a read.
Majora Carter made a huge impact with her breakthrough TED Talk seven years ago, and since then has woven a tribe both inside and outside the South Bronx. Her passion is evident not just in her talk, but in the work she does every single day in pushing governments and corporations to recognize and work with previously ignored communities. The courage and audacity of the underserved can turn into a force for good, and more than that, can galvanize the tribe itself to achieve more than it thought it ever could.
Both Josh and Majora are in the business of shining a light and giving identity to tribes that many would prefer to remain invisible. They are outwardly focused, doing the work for the tribe they care about. The magic of the times we live in is that these opportunities are everywhere we choose to find them.
The key is understanding that while the general public can root for you and learn from you, the people you truly care about number in the thousands (or possibly millions) but they’re not everyone. They’re the people who matter to you. And you to them.
[Lots of free stuff and Tribes book info here.]
Where’s your tribe? They need you.
Steve Jobs liked to say that it’s not enough to kill bad ideas, you have to kill good ones too. That’s because good strategy is about making choices and it takes more than intelligence or even instinct, it takes discipline, one of Jobs’ most overlooked qualities.
Marketing strategy is particularly difficult because the rules have changed. A generation ago, brands mostly strove to create buzz and “drive awareness,” now they need to build compelling experiences that keep consumers engaged.
However, the old tasks have not gone away. We still need to run TV ads and in-store promotions, man conference booths and hand out brochures, but now on top of that we have a whole new world of algorithms, apps and devices to master. To meet the new challenges, we need a new strategic approach, a new mindset and new organizations.
It used to be that marketing strategy focused on the sales funnel. You would get people’s attention, tell them about your product or service, convince them why it should be their preferred option and then drive them to action.
While there were important steps along the way, the thinking was that the more people you put in the front, the more would come out the back. That model, although it wasn’t 100% accurate, was true enough to build the great brands of the 20th century.
Now it’s broken. Put up an attention grabbing TV campaign today and consumers won’t flock to the stores, but to the Internet. Their activity will leave a data trail, which your competitors will use to retarget your consumers with competing messages before a purchase event can occur.
So, by spending money to build brand awareness and walking away, you’re much more likely to enrich your competition than yourself. In the digital age, marketers must change their focus from grabbing attention to holding attention by focusing on three core business objectives: Awareness, sales and advocacy.
While there are more elaborate path-to-purchase models available, I’ve found that complexity often obscures principle. Excess sophistication leads nowhere unless it leads to greater understanding.
Simple metrics such as awareness, sales and advocacy will give you an accurate snapshot of your brand’s health and how you can best improve it. In some high involvement categories with longer sales cycles, consideration and loyalty can also play a role, but research has shown that loyalty especially can be misleading.
Most importantly, clarifying marketing objectives is an analytical process, not a conceptual one. You are not trying to understand the “consumer mindset” or the “brand essence.” While those are worthy activities for developing positioning and executional concepts, they have no place in a discussion of business strategy.
What you want to know is where you’re winning, where you’re losing and where you have an opportunity to improve your competitive position. Period. Once you’ve achieved that, you can move on.
Forming a Tactical Approach
Identifying clear objectives is important, because it allows us to set priorities. No budget is unlimited and identifying a particular area of need not only allows us to focus our creative energies, but budget money as well, to where we can best improve our business.
However, simply identifying priorities is less helpful in forming a tactical approach, so the next step is to overlay the basic objectives model with tactical strategies that will help us create solutions targeted to a particular brands needs:
The above chart shows the three core brand objectives aligned with six tactical strategies. Mere platitudes and a “one size fits all” approach will not do, so once we’ve identified a particular area of need, we want to focus on building an approach designed for that specific task, rather than chasing the latest fad.
Perhaps not surprisingly, awareness and sales problems can largely be solved with conventional strategies augmented with new digital tools. Advocacy, however, is a largely new area and requires new thinking.
Let’s look at each area in brief:
Attention and Evaluation: While awareness has been de-emphasized in the digital age, it’s still extremely important, especially during a launch or when there is a particular brand attribute that needs to be communicated.
For example, when Mercedes wanted to promote their new zero emission “F-Cell” hydrogen fuel technology they got people talking about it by driving an “invisible car” across Germany. Consumers who were intrigued by the campaign and searched the Internet for more information would inevitably be led to the company’s promotional page for green initiatives, the Wikipedia page or one of the glowing reviews about their revolutionary new car.
It’s important to note that while Mercedes is a well known brand, very few people know anything about hydrogen fuel technology and even fewer are actively considering a purchase. Mercedes’ goal here is not necessarily to drive consumers directly to dealerships, but to get them to start thinking seriously about hydrogen cars.
Recency and Proximity: Marketers have long known that to drive sales, you need to reach people at the point of purchase. Digital retail solutions, however, are taking the concept to a whole new level as Tesco showed with their virtual stores at Korean subway stations. Rather than trying to drive consumers into their stores, Tesco was able to insert the shopping experience into their daily commute. The strategy helped catapult Tesco to a leadership position in the Korean market.
Value Exchange and Community: While building awareness and driving sales are objectives that most firms are familiar with and know how to manage successfully, advocacy is a relatively new area and one in which many marketers falter. Brands that seek to increase advocacy need to create product, social and content experiences that increase perceived value. Nike’s Fuelband program is great example of how a brand can connect with consumers by building a unique marketing asset. A crucial point here is how Nike not only creates a value exchange with consumers, but how it builds a community. A vibrant community has nothing to do with how many followers you have, but how they interact with each other.
The genius of Fuelband is not in the technology, but how it allows consumers to cheer their friends on and receive encouragement themselves.
Small, Scalable Bets
While all of the strategies above have won awards for their creativity, what’s most impressive about them is their complexity.
These are not simply the product of an exciting brainstorming session followed by a few caffeine and adrenaline fueled all-night sessions in order to get the tapes on air by deadline. They are the results of years of testing and learning.
Mercedes has been experimenting with experiential marketing for years. Tesco had its share of trials and tribulations as it built up its web fulfillment operations in Korea to the point where the virtual store idea could actually be made to work. Nike’s Fuelband isn’t a one-off, but an evolution from Nike+iPod.
All of these involved the entire organization, not just the marketing department and a few partner agencies. They required a series of small, scalable bets across the enterprise that were integrated into a seamless whole.
The implications are clear, the era of the big idea is over. The future belongs to organizations that can create effective collaboration across a wide variety of skills and capabilities.
The New Marketing Organization
There is probably no greater creative organization in the world today than Pixar, which has won over two dozen Academy Awards and whose average gross for a film (over $600 million) puts every other studio to shame.
In a classic HBR article, Pixar founder Ed Catmull, explains that the secret to the company’s success is an open non-hierarchical environment where it’s safe for everyone to offer ideas across boundaries of position or functional discipline. Feedback is frank, but not vicious and there are no stars at Pixar (can you name even one?).
Now think about the typical corporate marketing organization, with often adversarial relationships between departments, partner agencies and suppliers, glorified turf wars and personality cults. Clearly we need a new paradigm.
If marketing practice has changed so fundamentally, why do our marketing organizations look so much the same?
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Greg Satell, a recognized authority on digital strategy and innovation. He is a speaker, consultant, and writes the Digital Tonto blog. Follow him on Twitter @DigitalTonto.
Sponsored by: The Brand Positioning Workshop
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As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn
Bill Gates is getting bashed over comments he made that are critical of capitalism, and I think he’s getting a bad rap.
Wired reported on comments Gates made in London last week in which he complained that more funding is directed to male baldness research than to malaria vaccines because the wealthy people who write the checks are more concerned with their own problems than bigger humanitarian issues. He said governments and philanthropic organizations have to take steps to correct this ”flaw in the pure capitalistic approach”.
Reader comments on Wired are a bit more thoughtful than the ones on the U.K.’s Mail, but the criticism in both forums centers on Gates’ implied criticism of capitalism, which made him one of the richest people on earth.
For one thing, Gates didn’t trash capitalism in general. What he said was that there was a “flaw in the pure capitalistic approach” that created funding inequities. Most people would agree that capitalism in its purest form creates imbalances that lead to lead to things like the Great Depression, and that’s why some regulation is needed. It’s the best economic model humans have yet invented, but it isn’t perfect.
I also think Gates’ image needs revisiting in light of all the good he has done over the last decade.
If you read the rest of the Wired story, you see that Gates has his fingers on the pulse of some huge humanitarian issues, and the Gates Foundation is doing some of the world’s best work to address the problems of the desperately poor. I now believe that the Gates Foundation – not Microsoft – has been Bill Gates’ life goal for a very long time. Microsoft was his way to make the Foundation real.
Back in my technology media days I had the chance to interview Gates on several occasions. I once asked him why he continued to accumulate so much wealth. Did he ever think about scaling back and enjoying the fruits of his success (This was in the early 90s, when he was worth only around $8 billion)?
Gates’ answer surprised me. He said he planned to give away most of the money eventually and that he was in the best possible place to generate the maximum amount of wealth for that purpose While the Gates Foundation didn’t have a name at the time, it was clearly a goal in his mind.
Since leaving Microsoft in 2008, Gates has all but disappeared from the industry he helped create, devoting himself instead to his foundation. He has thrown himself into that task with all the energy he brought to crushing Microsoft competitors, only this time has goals are perhaps more commendable. Microsoft stock has languished for a decade. Gates cashed out his winnings when there was nothing more to be gained, just as he told me he would 20 years ago.
I think we’re seeing another side to Bill Gates, and I hope it’s part of his legacy. While he is a brilliant and often ruthless competitor, he’s also capable of great compassion. I think it’s a shame that Steve Jobs, who gave away very little of the wealth he accumulated, is viewed more positively than a man who seems determined to spend the rest of his life tackling some of the world’s toughest health and humanitarian issues.
I remember the moment Steve Jobs scrolled through his music and uttered those magical words – “scrolls like butter” – while illustrating the beauty of the original iPhone.
It’s moments like this that you lived for, as a technology obsessed professional in Silicon Valley. And with Jobs we got to watch the Michael Jordan of technology, courtside, at his best. iPods, iPhones, iPads, the hits kept coming and Jobs made them look great.
So, it’s a pet peeve of mine these days when companies try to rip off Steve Jobs’ launch style. Not Apple’s style because the new PR machinery at Apple leaves a lot to be desired. But what Jobs created, no one else can put together, because it was and will always be classic Jobs.
Jobs in the above video is the same age as Zuckerberg is today. Incomparable!
Why “Public Relations” sucks?
Kevin Roose writes of the Applefication of Facebook PR in light of today’s Facebook press conference.
I’m sitting in the Facebook headquarters, in Menlo Park, in a room filled with the symphonic clicking of keys produced by hundreds of tech bloggers, all writing the same stories and updating the same live-blogs on identical Apple laptops.
Zuckerberg has long departed — he was disappeared from a teeming pile of reporters and cameras and out a back door like a sitting president — so now it’s just us and the PR Borg. Oh, the PR Borg. Facebook’s communications staffers are paired up with reporters at demo stations, showing off Graph on a series of computers. The spares are milling around the room. There must be 50 of them — a phalanx of fresh-faced professionals with smiles on their faces and carefully scripted responses to our questions in their hip pockets.
These are today’s news factories. These are things I’d hoped would change with social media but frankly the hand that runs the machine continues to operate with an old playbook. And that sucks…
- Because companies take your time for granted and insult your intelligence by throwing pablum like “three pillars,” and “graph search” at these press junkets
- Because most of the press and the media invited to these junkets regurgitate this bullshit
- Because investigative journalism is dead
- Because empty sensationalism seems to be the only way to run a blog these days and no one’s held accountable
- Because access is the currency of public relations and will never change
- Because press releases will continue to work since they scale
But wasn’t social media meant to change these things… Hold that thought.
Because no company can ever be Apple with Jobs
I never went to an Apple event in the Steve Jobs era, but I gather that the pitch is nearly identical: the charismatic founder, the well-paced presentation, the subtle way that certain media outlets are subtly given preference. (This time, major news outlets — this one not included — were given off-the-record briefings about Social Graph.) It’s all drawn from a playbook that was developed a decade ago and has been used to transform a smallish computer company into the largest corporation in the world.
Not so fast. This playbook copied by every large company from Amazon to Facebook forgets three key elements for this communication to work: killer product, charismatic founder, real user values.
The magic with Steve Jobs was his effortless communication. A passionate user himself whose demos communicated his wonder around Apple products that truly changed the way we interact with technology.
Yes, Apple had their PR machinery but the difference was Jobs.
- The difference was the simple email responses that Jobs would personally send users who wrote him about Apple products.
- The difference was Jobs’ passionate discourse with just about any user on all things Apple.
- The difference was in the conversational way Jobs wrote his controversy-defusing missives when the situation demanded.
- The difference was in backing up those missives by publicly sparring, evangelizing and winning over developers or journalists when they called him on it.
- The difference was a holistic approach at communicating openly to users by treating them as adults.
Wasn’t that the utopian goal of social media? To help companies talk one-on-one with their users. Instead here we are, still mass producing press releases around giant product announcements, trying to reach the lowest common denominator at the lowest possible price. In some cases, at the ridiculously low price of $100.00!
Welcome to the future of social media communication.
[Disclosure: I own public stock in Facebook, I do not own stock in Apple. This blog holds my my personal thoughts on all things marketing and communications since 2006.]
Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1440.
The first radio transmissions were in the early 1900s.
The television became commercially available less than a century ago.
The Internet is not even old enough to have a drink (legally; at least not in the United States).
Facebook and Twitter are just out of diapers, and the next big marketing tool is still in the womb or possibly just a twinkle in its creator’s eye.
When most people think about marketing, these are the tools they think of: print, radio, TV and the web. None of these, however, are ingrained in us as much as storytelling. We’ve been telling stories for thousands of years, but we don’t have to go back that far to understand storytelling’s powerful effect on our hearts and minds. Go back only as far as your childhood, when you begged your parents to read your favorite story—the one you already knew by heart—just one more time. Why did you do that? Why was it so important to hear that story?
Stories and the art of storytelling play a major role in content marketing today. Not all brands realize the importance of unearthing their core story and learning to tell stories in ways that endear new fans and motivate advocates. In case you need even more reason to learn to weave an effective narrative throughout your marketing efforts, here are seven reasons storytelling is important for branded content.
If you’re reading in RSS and can’t see the images, please click through to reveal the reasons. We’ve also turned this post into a SlideShare presentation!
Experiences leave lasting impressions. They go far deeper than facts, figures or features. And by creating a story-based experience, you cause your audiences to walk away with an impression of your brand that doesn’t rest on the precarious edges of their minds but sits deep in their hearts.
Chances are that if you have an innovative or unique offering, it’s not going to be innovative and/or unique very long. Any amount of success will generate copycats. But what they can’t copy is who you are. What’s your origin story? Where did your brand come from, and how has that shaped your product or service? When your facts, figures and features are in line, your story can set you apart from the competition.
If it weren’t for stories, your brand wouldn’t mean much to your audience. It’s those stories that create a real connection. Facebook now dedicates an entire site to stories. Fans can post stories about their individual and collective experiences. (Facebook even flew a number of these storytellers to its headquarters to surprise a room full of Facebook employees, creating a rock-solid connection between the work they were doing and the difference they’re making in the lives of their users.) Tumblr and Twitter have done something similar with Storyboard and @twitterstories, respectively.
There’s nothing more mind numbing than hearing or reading a bunch of facts and figures. And anyone can recite numbers to an audience. A true marketer will weave a story around the information to create meaning for the audience.
“Having the data is not enough. I have to show it in ways people both enjoy and understand,” Hans Rosling said. Rosling is well known for the ways he has spun compelling stories around massive data sets. What would otherwise be mundane statistics becomes a gripping narrative with valleys and peaks that keeps interest piqued throughout. Strong visual elements and impassioned narrative elevate his presentations. Take a look at the video below to see what I mean.
Stories are uniquely able to move people’s hearts, minds, feet and wallets in the storyteller’s intended direction. Nobody was better at this than Steve Jobs, who turned sales presentations into coveted experiences. His masterful storytelling motivated fans to rave about the products, creating valuable earned media. The photo above is the line to get into one of his keynote addresses.
When was the last time a friend of yours called you up to tell you the great features of this new product they were interested in? Or how they scored a coupon? Probably not recently. But we share stories every day. This has only been amplified by social media, through which we are able to share with the click of a button. When a story resonates—moves people emotionally—they retell it many times over, ultimately amplifying the message.
When we know we’re being marketed to, we close our ears. We don’t have 30 seconds to be interrupted. But when we’re told a story, miraculously, we have 30 minutes to listen. Our arms unfold and we lean forward, excited to hear what comes next.
With only 23 percent of consumers trusting ads on TV and 20 percent trusting ads in magazines or on the radio, it’s more important than ever for brands to integrate their marketing into their story. Otherwise, what are you marketing?
Do you have any other reasons to add?
Boris Teksler, Apple’s director of patent licensing and strategy, said late CEO Steve Jobs and then-COO Tim Cook in 2010 warned Samsung that its smartphones may infringe on the iPhone’s patents.