Steve Jobs – A Quick Lesson

Steve Jobs refocused Apple

When Steve Jobs took over Apple (again) in 1997, he came into a company that was unfocused, bloated and on a downhill slide in market share.  

Jobs began a series of product review meetings. Engineers and management had to bring their projects and justify their existence. He discovered that that the Macintosh had dozens of versions built specifically for a dozen different retailers.

Jobs quickly cut 70% of Apple’s products over several weeks before he finally yelled “Stop!” in one of the product strategy sessions.

He grabbed a magic marker, padded to a whiteboard, and drew a horizontal and vertical line to make a four-squared chart. “Here’s what we need,” he continued. Atop the two columns he wrote “Consumer” and “Pro”; he labeled the two rows “Desktop” and “Portable.” Their job, he said, was to make four great products, one for each quadrant. *

In his first year, Jobs cut more than 3,000 employees, eliminated most of the products in production and development, and refocused Apple on creating incredible products.

It was this intense focus and staying true to the principles of Apple that eventually brought the world the iPod, iPhone, and iPad that has changed how the world interacts with computers.

Fear is something that many of my clients feel when I first introduce the concept of narrowing your marketing and finding a niche. The objection I get most is “I can serve more people if I don’t focus on a target market.” The other is “Won’t I miss out on some business if my marketing is focused on only one niche?”

That was the same mistake Apple had made – they had attempted to be all things to all people. Servers, printers, multiple versions of the Macintosh, and the Apple Newton (a PDA in the early 90’s) led Apple away from its core (pun intended).

By finding your niche, you will better fulfill the needs of your customers, better communicate with them, and reduce your wasted efforts.

*Source: Steve Jobs; Walter Isaacson; 2011; pg. 337(click to get a copy)

 

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