Forget the big idea – start with the user

Steve Jobs
We think of Apple as being the great modern-day innovators, but actually what they do is take an initial idea – more often than not one that a competitor has created – and then improve on it, based on customer needs.

Even in 2016, this is something that so many brands still fail to do.

In her book Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly, Bernadette Jiwa starts one chapter with this spot-on quote from Steve Jobs.

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it … And as we have tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with ‘What incredible benefits can we give to the customer, where can we take the customer?’ Not starting with ‘Let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have and then [ask] how are we going to market that?’

Steve Jobs

A sense of physical loss

David BowieWe’ve all lost someone we care about. It’s devastating. You feel as if there’s a big hole somewhere inside you.

Today came the frankly-unbelieveable news that David Bowie has died from cancer. In the hours that followed, I went through emotions that I’ve felt before.

I sat staring at my computer screen, unable to do anything of any merit. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone. I got angry when I saw people talking about other, more trivial (in my view) things. Continue reading

Christmas Gift Guides: a sea of stereotypes and predictability

Xmas gift guideAs the start of December draws near, so the annual avalanche of Christmas Gift Guides arrives in every publication possible.

At some point during October (or even earlier), every magazine, newspaper or ecommerce website office around the country has the same inevitable meeting that results in some poor soul being commissioned to source the products for the gift guide.

More often that not, the guide is ‘helpfully’ split up into stereotypical categories, such as “Gifts for Him”, “Ideas for Her”, “For the awkward uncle”, which are simply an excuse to trot out the same sort of tat that appears every year.

There are two reasons why I find these utterly depressing: Continue reading