[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]
I know that so many people today are recognizing and acknowleding the impact Steve Jobs left on the world – particularly in his role as master innovator. In fact, I had already been doing a lot of reflecting on Mr Jobs’ product releases over the years – as we prepare for our product launch in Kinexions in 10 days time – when I saw the news on Apple’s homepage last night.
Many people have been massive fans of Jobs. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery … I can also throw my hat as a fan into the ring. Earlier this year, in front of a number of large sales audiences, I played the Steve Jobs launch of the original iPhone (the most amazing 4-minute product launch ever) and then did a parody on it live to prove the impact that successful positioning can have (For those who haven’t seen it or forgotten how powerful it was, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZYlhShD2oQ)
A lot of people have paid tribute to Mr Jobs over the past 24 hours. I think it has all been said. His impact on the technology industry – and business in general – cannot really be overstated. I will take a slightly different approach and speak purely to the two sides of innovation done Jobs’ style.
The way I have always thought Jobs was so brilliant is that he managed – time and again – to pull off two things: (1) his companies have managed to give people products that they desperately wanted (needed?) that they didn’t know they wanted until they saw it and (2) he was always able to position the product effectively – concisely stating how the product would make your life more productive and happy, simply by using the product. Game changing products with game changing messaging and positioning. This was true with the Macintosh, the iPad, the iPhone, the iPad, and I would go so far as to say Toy Story. Each of these products completely changed industries. In fact, this week IBM surpassed Microsoft to be the second largest technology company by market capitalization – likely driven by Apple more than anything (as Apple played such a key role in making IBM's decision to get out of the PC business look brilliant and Microsoft’s reliance on the “dying” PC having the opposite effect).
OK, I am now rambling. Back on to the two points.
(1) Giving people products they want or even need. This is obviously not easy to do, but there have been many technology products which were great over the past 20 years, which did not see any commercial success because of ineffective marketing, positioning and selling. The world of technology business is not “Field of Dreams.” You may build it, but it certainly does not mean they will come.
(2) Positioning the product as changing the way things are done, but doing so in a way that the users of the product look at it and go, “of course I need that” – even though they did not know it was possible until the moment it was pointed out to them. Lots of companies spend lots of money trying to make their products sound like this, but it never works beyond a short hype cycle if the product can’t back up the positioning.
To wrap up this post, here at Kinaxis, I am completely confident that we have the first one nailed – RapidResponse is completely capable of allowing enterprises to manage themselves in a new, improved, and essential to the business kind of way.
As for the second … will we have the positioning to represent the product the way it deserves? For that one, you will have to stay tuned. Time will tell. The journey starts on October 18th.
til next time … Kirk