The Steve Jobs Way - Chapter 2 - Attention to Details

This book is about a charismatic leader while Blue Ocean and Disruptive Innovation were about creating a process that didn't depend on such a leader. So in certain aspects they would be opposed to each other. Especially with someone like Steve Jobs, things can go into the realm of hero worship. This chapter does that to some extent. Some of the things are just blind appreciation of generic leadership traits such as recognizing people which don't really carry differentiatiable insights. But let us look past and see what is replicable by just about anyone.

One of them that comes out is integrated architecture versus modular. Steve Jobs clearly was going for integrated architecture. That was the only way he could control every detail right from the customer experience of opening of packing to how the chips inside the computers looked. And to craft an unique experience one really needs to fine tune an optimize value across the end to end value chain. Once the value is established, it becomes more about modularizing and flexibility which other companies did.

The other aspect brought about is about simplicity and intuitiveness in usage that Steve Jobs kept pushing towards. This is in line with disruptive innovation idea of making a product easier to use as well as the blue ocean idea of addressing barriers to usage. This chapter talks of how Steve Jobs strove to create a one button that could do everything in a mobile phone.

The chapter also talks about bringing innovation from other interests. Which in some ways sounds like innovation for innovation's sake. But could be the source of break throughs at a component level when striving towards an end to end experience. This kind of fine tuning every detail is what makes an X Factor. When it is just 2-3 elements that are different, others can easily imitate. If every element is unique, it will all look like a mystery like the mystique around people's love for Apple products. 

On the flip side, the book points out how sometimes Steve Jobs kept delaying launches till he got a particular aspect right which might not be worth the delay. Also out of whim, he had apparently decided to acquire a factory to do complete end to end computer assembly. Apparently he learned later to look at trade offs. An analytic framework like the Blue Ocean value curves might have helped there to evaluate more objectively than going entirely with the gut and committing such costly mistakes. 

Overall I would take away lessons on perfecting every element as well as not accepting constraints too quickly and to think inter disciplinary and out of the box for every aspect.


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