I cannot let today pass without talking about Steve Jobs as for a marketing man like me to do so would be akin to a catholic not commenting on the death of a pope.
I have an immense amount of respect for all that he achieved with Apple. Starting up a company, then being ousted from the board as he was, only to return and make it bigger and better than it had ever been was quite simply outstanding. I know how hard it is to start a small company and get it off the ground. You know how hard it is to run a law firm and keep it going. Taking on and beating the likes of Microsoft, Sony and then all the mobile telephone providers was extraordinary.
But the Steve Jobs story provides a lot more support for us mere mortals, because along with the huge success stories, there were also an awful lot of failures, but that never stopped him. I personally think that you need around 10 failures to every one success, probably 50 failures to a big success, and maybe 100 failures to YOUR Steve Jobs moment. Yet so many people, particularly in the UK, see failure as a reason to give up, to prove that they simply do not have what it takes. In the States people embrace failure far more and accept that it is a stepping stone on the route to success.
With Apple you cannot say that Safari, their web browser has been a success, as it has such a tiny fraction of the market. It tried to create Apple TV originally in 1993 with a Macintosh TV that bombed. It is trying again now and it looks like it will succeed. It had already tried at mobile phones in a partnership with Motorola in 2005 which was a dreadful failure. However, rather than give up Apple decided it had to control the whole mobile phone to make it a success, and there is no denying that they have achieved that with the ground-breaking iPhone. So with two of their perhaps most successful products (Apple TV and iPhone), they had to try twice before making them work. How many would have given up and said that the TV market or Mobile Phone market was not for them? I think the majority of businesses would have done if they had not had Steve Jobs at the top.
Where I stand most in awe of Apple though is with iTunes. This to me is still the biggest reason for the success of Apple and then the iPhone. Before Apple created iTunes we did not know that we wanted our whole music collection on a portable device. If you think back to pre-iTunes and iPod Touch days we were all happy playing our music on CD’s. All that we kept asking for was CD players that could play more than one CD at a time and then have a shuffle button. CD players originally played only one CD at a time, then they made players that played three at a time, then six. I think the biggest was nine CD’s at a time. We were happy; access to nine CD’s at once – what more could anyone need? Then along came iTunes and provided us with the ability to have our whole CD collection on one tiny hand held device. Like I say in my opinion this was by far Apples biggest breakthrough as we had not even asked for this change. Henry Ford said people asked for faster horses, so he created the car. We all asked for CD players that played more than one CD at once, Steve Jobs and Apple gave us our whole collection on a hand held device. This is why he was such a marketing genius as marketing is completely and totally and only about giving your clients what they want! It is as simple as that, yet we tend to make it seem much harder.
So what do your legal clients want? Initially, if we think about it, we would say they want their conveyancing transactions to be faster and more guaranteed. They want every legal service to be easier, more certain and stress free. Or is it that what they really want is to never need a solicitor in the first place? Steve Jobs was able to work with a great team and find the answer to what his customers/clients wanted before they even knew it. As law firm’s that is now your challenge in this ever changing legal market place. How much time do you spend away from the office thinking about this?
Let me leave you with a Steve Jobs quote:
"Death is very likely life’s single best invention…… Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life….."
This is well worth watching if you have not seen it before, Steve Jobs giving a talk to Stanford University: //www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html
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