Lessons I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs was an icon of the personal computer industry. In my opinion, there is only one other living human being who could equal or rival his celebrity status. That person is Bill Gates.

Their lives had many similarities and some differences. They both were brilliant. They both started their businesses several years after leaving college. They did not consider a college education tantamount to their success. They both grew up on the West Coast. Jobs took a class in calligraphy at Reed College that he said inspired him later as the multiple fonts and word spacing (kerning) manifested themselves in the Macintosh.

Steve and Bill © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates © Wikipedia


But there were also the differences between them. As extraordinary as they both were as showmen and business titans, Steve was all about perfection and aesthetics never compromising for profit. Bill Gates was very focused on profit and simplicity of code. He has since been able to relinquished his throne to go on to global-community service. He last wrote his last lines of code in 1989. Steve battled through a liver transplant and pancreatic cancer while holding aloft the mantle of the brand for his firm, relinquishing the stewardship of it only when his health failed him. It was no more than a matter of six weeks between his resignation and passing.

Because I am an author with the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog, I would like to focus my lessons learned from Steve Jobs on these four topics, Digital, Branding, Marketing, and Education.

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

Before the invention of the personal computer that Steve Jobs presented in his usual fanfare, pulling it by the handle out of a gym bag, mainframe computers took up entire rooms. The idea of a personal computer on every desk and in every home was viewed as preposterous if not impossible.

Apple I © Wikipedia

Apple I © Wikipedia

Steve acquired the original mouse technology from Xerox who could not commercialize on it but in an agreement let their engineers work with Apple in return for IPO offerings when it became commercial. The “GUI” (graphical user interface) allowed the development of graphics, images, and multiple fonts. It was the essential element that allowed the transition from a totally code and programmer based system to a user-friendly system. His team created the initial software and then other companies jumped on the bandwagon.

His leadership fostered a creative environment that let the team negotiate, innovate and create with a high standard.

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

Bill Gates was primarily a software man learning early on that he preferred more pedestrian, affordable PCs in contrast to the ‘elegant’ devices of Apple and then Macintosh. Bill’s goal was to mass-market software and for a while Microsoft was the proprietary software on all PCs. In contrast, Steve Jobs computers were and are geared to the connoisseurs in the industry.

Over time, the two companies did become more similar. With Windows, Microsoft adopted the more obvious mechanisms of the Mac, the mouse, and the programs in PC version and now Macs use the Intel processor. But Steve was the master of the brand. His mantra was perfection.

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

He would not let a product emerge from his laboratory into the public domain until he felt it had reached absolute perfection. The quality control with parts suppliers is one example. Perhaps this was a drain on his health compared to his, at least seemingly more laid back adversary, Mr. Gates. His interest was quantity over the level of quality that Jobs demanded without compromise. One wonders where Apple will be headed without Jobs. Microsoft seems unfettered by the resignation of Gates.

Jobs was a master at marketing. Just the mere rumor and then word of the emergence of a new or newer model of a product sent the Mac devotees to the stores where they would often camp out over night to be the first ‘kid on the block’ to have the latest version of whatever it was.

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

The presentations of his latest products were also impeccable examples of marketing and promotion. One year Ridley Scott, now a famed film and TV producer, was brought on board to create a memorable, even shocking Macintosh Super Bowl commercial. No one who has ever seen it will forget it.

When generations of the various Macs were born in irresistible, candy colored variations, potential consumers were tempted to not only purchase these mechanical wonders but agonized over which day-glow color to buy. That would be a major problem for me. I would want one in each color. Jobs combined perfection of design, streamlined elegance and hot colors.

1984, Superbowl XVIII Commercial  © Wikipedia

'1984' Superbowl XVIII Commercial © Wikipedia

Have you ever wondered why school systems buy and use Macs? If one is a student, there are special reduced price versions of the programs available and discounts on the computers themselves. What does that say about the quality of a Mac over a PC? I feel there is no more evidence necessary that ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Educational systems throughout the country chose to have their students learn on Macs, not PCs. They may have had to settle for PCs when their families both them their own. But the educational system provided only the best and most reliable quality control.

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on the world of technology and design. Much has been written about him before and since his passing. This post is but a peek at one small part of the universe he occupied. For me, his example showed there are some valuable lessons to be learned in Digital Brand Marketing Education.


What I learned from Steve Jobs by Guy Kawasaki

This Week’s Issue Of Time Magazine Has Steve Jobs On The Cover And The Story Behind His Upcoming Bio

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: One Last Thing; R.I.P Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on Wikipedia

Apple Computer on Wikipedia

Macintosh Computer on Wikipedia

Bill Gates on Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

Skype: The Platform that Microsoft Just Bought

An announcement on May 10th that Microsoft had bought Skype was obviously colossal business news, however, most users seem more concerned with how the eight and a half billion dollar deal will impact their user experiences.

Skype in 2010

In the past year, Skype has seemingly remained focus on providing a positive user-experience for their consumers, and that focus may have also been a driving factor behind a reported $7 million dollar loss for the company. With whispers of a holographic Skype in the works, among other improvements, it seemed to be doing fairly well in keeping up with the times though. Other key elements in important improvements to Skype in 2010 included:

  • Two way video calling for the iPhone was implemented
  • New capability for phoning friends on Facebook
  • Even the President took the first-ever Skype call at a town hall meeting to help bring the entire world into the digital dimension.

In early 2010, Skype teamed up with Citrix to provide remote desktop capabilities in GotoMeeting for Skype video chat users. This partnership brought an entire new aspect to Skype’s capabilities when it came to meeting and beating the curve for a fully bundled, big business remote meeting or educational tool.

Ending the year with a crash due to shaky servers and a possible bug in the client software, Skype may have been sent plunging towards the edge it was brought to when the decision to sell began to seem like the best one for current users.

Skype Users

It seems that everyone is using Skype for either personal reasons that can include things like communication with family in the same country, or across the globe, to large corporations that have begun to use it to conduct meetings, or even hiring processes, thereby saving immense expenses in travel and other costly elements for their companies.

Predominantly used by highly educated males ages 45 years old and up, global traffic statistics shows its three-month traffic ranking stands at #198, while the US ranks it at #281. It is also incredibly popular in other countries such as Algeria, India, and Russia. Skype is still currently located in Luxembourg.

Future positive prospects for Skype may be possible, however, Microsoft may need to go as far as needed to retain the best, brightest employees that Skype currently has while implementing lucrative changes for the products longevity. Whispers of possible changes for the Skype program have included a wide variety of possibilities.

Facebook Friendly

One of the rumors includes putting the Skype product in front of over 600 million Facebook users by integrating video chat into their social network. Although it may have been no more than a passing comment, it was mentioned around the recent sale that ‘social’ may be one of the possible new uses for a Microsoft-lead Skype.

Since Microsoft still actually owns a small piece of Facebook with a buy-in of $240 million in 2007, it seems a quite likely, time and money saving idea for their developers.

Improving Microsoft Mobile Technology

It is no huge secret that Microsoft’s Windows phones are no true leaders on the cell phone market circuits. Since Android and Apple products already have the capability to run Skype apps, it seems likely that Microsoft would now follow suit, however, it is also obvious from a marketing standpoint that not quite everyone is into the video chat scene quite yet, although it of course remains a frank possibility for future benefit.

Gaming Integration

Although the Xbox remains a very popular gaming console with off and online capabilities, for high-end gamers, other consoles still remain top priority when it comes to real-time communications.

Considering that at least 10 million Xbox users now have cameras attached to their Xboxes, those 10 million now owning the Kinect system, already have the works for setting up video chat capabilities, indeed, video chat gaming integrated capabilities, could be quite endless with Skype as their video tool, and immensely intriguing to the gaming world, another extremely lucrative industry. No doubt putting Skype on the Xbox could be a significant push forward for both products.


What is the Microsoft Cloud?

Although the Cloud sounds fluffy and inviting, it really is just another name for the internet. All of us are Cloud users in that aspect, as anytime we use Facebook, or log into Hotmail, we are on the Cloud.

However, recently the Cloud has expanded its niche into an entire new range of different business services. Some of the detailed applications that help business owners are now accessible via the Cloud without the necessity of having them installed on your computer. This gives users the ability to access their information online from anywhere in the world that an internet connection is available.

Although the name ‘Cloud’ was coined for this aspect of internet interaction from the cloud symbol commonly used to represent the web in diagrams and flowcharts, it is a bit more complicated than the name implies. The Cloud uses three distinct types of service.

  1. Platform-as-a-Service
  2. Software-as-a-Service
  3. Infrastructure-as-a-Service

These services can be:

  • Sold on demand. Commonly these services are those that are useful by the minute or hour.
  • Elastic services. These services allow a user to have as much or as little of the specific service.
  • Fully managed services. Users will need nothing but their own computer and a connection to the internet.

Benefits for Business

The bottom line of course, is that the Cloud can save you time and money. Your list of software to be purchased to get your business off the ground can be significantly reduced. With no need to buy multiple copies of individual software, this can be a huge money-saver for any business owner.

There will be no money or time focused on maintaining or upgrading services or software.

It is an easily accessible way to carry out required online tasks.

On-demand access for your employees will cut time wasted and allow them to be more productive and effective with their allotted time. It can also reduce the time they spend communicating with one another.

Cloud can also help to reduce operational and capital expenses depending on what may work best for your particular business. With less management and maintenance time spent the Cloud may, in fact, be a very willing and effective partner in most small, or even larger businesses.

Personal Cloud computing can mean that a user can have every piece of data they need to manage every aspect of their business at their fingertips.


Digital Marketing Trend: Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag is a new experience in connecting the digital world with the real world.  By scanning a tag – a new kind of bar code – with your cellular phone, you can have immediate access to information, websites, videos, reviews and more.


When you scan a Tag displayed on an establishment or product, it will automatically open a web page and give you all the pertinent information.

  • What was said about the coffee shop you are looking at?
  • Who is the owner?
  • What other users said?
  • You can also see if the place is offering special deals.

Scan a Tag on a concert poster and you will get the dates of their next performance in your city, you could buy tickets or sample a song.  The Tag will display a massage, dial a number or add the contact to your address book.

Shopping, Microsoft says, has become a lot smarter and fun; Tags lets you discover interesting new places, it can give access to the things consumers love and then bring them together.

Tags are free to create and use. They can be added to ads, posters, websites, packages, billboards and clothing. And this is but a part of the list. Adding the Tag to your business card will enable the user to add your contact information immediately into their address book.

For merchants, using the Tag not only give them access to customers they never had before, it also enables them to create media campaigns and have advanced analytics to measure campaign effectiveness. This can give you detailed information where the Tag was scanned and what was your most popular ad location.

The Tag reader is a downloadable application from a single website (to eliminate confusion) and can be as small as you want it to be so it won’t interfere with the design. Tags can be customized to your brand’s specific look and feel.

Microsoft is using a cloud based technology that provides access to data that isn’t possible with other bar-code systems because of the amount of information a cloud can store. Unlike other 2D codes that have permanent information and are associated with a single URL, Tags allows you to change the data in its source, update is as frequently as you want, allowing you to reuse campaign materials.

You can create a Tag by going to their website at tag.microsoft.com and sign in. Since May 2010, Tags has graduated from the beta trials and is now available everywhere. For some reason it caught on much quicker in Europe than in the US. In Amsterdam, for example, they are using the Microsoft Tag to advertise accurate bus schedules.

Since the beginning of its Beta trials and until May 2010, over 1 billion tags have been printed all over the world.


Special Thanks to David Tesser for presenting this technology and subject to me for the blog.

Blog Tag: URL 2D


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