Lesson #5: Think In Broad Terms

“The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have,” says Jobs.

Jobs has not only made a career out of creating innovative products, but also out of thinking strategically and creatively. From his marketing campaigns to his leadership style to his partnerships, Jobs has continually demonstrated his superior knack for the business world. Unlike Wozniak, who was more involved with the technological aspect of the business, Jobs was a born leader with a vision that would not be overshadowed.

Seeing that computers could be more than just simply machines for practical use, Jobs brought personal computing to the masses by believing in computers as tools of enjoyment and creativity. “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences,” says Jobs. “They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem.”

Jobs’ marketing genius is part of his ability to think creatively and in new directions. When iTunes for Windows was being launched in 2003, Jobs teamed up with Pepsi and AOL to carry out a major publicity campaign. At one event in San Francisco, Jobs had numerous celebrities with a modern, cool appeal endorse the product. From U2’s Bono to Dr. Dre to Mick Jagger, Jobs understood how to market iTunes to appeal to its younger target audience. To close the night, he also brought on Sarah McLachlan to perform two of her songs, which were being offered as download exclusives by iTunes. This campaign served as a classic example of how Jobs’s vision of computers as something fun and creative for the masses matched with his business savvy.

In a similar business partnership, Apple recently teamed up with Nike to create a smart running shoe, which would be able to give runners all the similar type of information that they are able to read off a treadmill. Although the fact that this information would only be available after a run became a problem, Jobs led the two companies down a new creative path, which resulted in the successful Nike+iPod Sport Kit. Meanwhile, this new business relationship continues to grow and with it, Jobs’ ability to think broadly and along new lines is ever more apparent.

The success of Pixar’s 1995 Toy Story marked Jobs’ comeback. If ever anyone had any doubts about his abilities in either the business or the technological worlds, this film undoubtedly laid them to rest. The first feature-length film that was completely computer animated, Toy Story took four years to produce and grossed almost $200 million. A film called The Works was originally scheduled to be the first entirely computer animated film for release in 1986 but it was never finished. It was only due to Jobs’ commitment to his vision that the project was completed.

From product to promotion, Jobs understood what it took to be successful in the business world – creativity and an understanding of the bigger picture.

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