Insights & Data


Global Water Market

  • Global Water Market.
  • Global water market: $508 billion.
  • Bottled water: $59 billion.
  • Industrial water: $28 billion (water equipment and services supplied to various businesses).
  • Retail products: $15 billion (water filters, heating and cooling systems, etc.)
  • Irrigation equipment: $10 billion.
  • Utilities: $396 billion.
    • Water: $226 billion (water distribution and treatment plants).
    • Wastewater: $170 billion (sewer systems, wastewater treatment plants, and water recycling facilities).

Fortune Magazine, October 17, 2011, page 28.

Lessons From the X Prize

As background, founded in 1995 the X-Prize Foundation organizes high profile contests designed to spur technology development around what he calls “humanity’s grand challenges.” Inspired by the contest that spurred Charles Lindbergh to fly nonstop across the Atlantic, the initial X-Prize was a $10 million purse famously awarded in 2004 for the first private spacecraft to reach the edge of space twice in two weeks. That competition spurred more than $100 million in investment, a multiplier effect that the foundation is now applying in fields as diverse as medicine and environmental protection.

Its leader has drawn these lessons from their experience with big idea innovation.

Incentivize the change you want to see: In a way that is what the X Prize is known best for….a $10 million incentive. Within your own organization, you can create a framework that will drive people to work toward your priorities. The incentive doesn’t need to be large.

Tolerate failure: Fail early, fail often. If something works, do more of it. This is one of the keys to Silicon Valley’s extraordinary success.

Attract the best and the brightest: The Internet, social networking, and mobile communications put the talent of the world at your fingertips. There’s no reason why you can’t have set the best talent in the world to work on your problem. Open-source collaboration and crowdsourcing are potent tools.

Establish constraints: Set tight limits on the innovative process — time, money, materials — and you’ll force people to think outside the box.

H.S. & College Dropouts

  • Richard Branson, dropped out of boarding school in 1966 at the age of 16.
  • Michael Dell, dropped out of the University of Texas, Austin, in 1984, at the age of 19.
  • David Geffen, dropped out of the University of Texas, Austin, in 1963, at the age of 20.
  • Lady Gaga, dropped out of New York University in 2005, at the age of 19.
  • James Cameron, dropped out of Fullerton college in 1974, at the age of 20.
  • Walt Disney, dropped out of high school in 1918, at the age of 16.
  • Steve jobs, dropped out of Reed college in 1972, at the age of 18.
  • Russell Simmons, dropped out of city College of New York in 1977, at the age of 20.
  • Simon Cowell, dropped out of boarding school in 1975, at the age of 16.
  • Build dates, dropped out of Harvard University in 1975, at the age of 19.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright, dropped out of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1887, at the age of 20.

Global Statistics

  • Most representative of the 7 billion people.
  • 19% of the world population lives in China.
  • 33% is Christian.
  • 50.4% is male.
  • 50.5% lives in a town or city.
  • The median age is 29 years old.
  • The average per capita gross world income is $10,290 per year.
  • 73% of the world's population does not use the Internet.
  • The 10 most populated countries.
    • China: 1.3 billion.
    • India: 1.2 billion.
    • United States: 310 million.
    • Indonesia: 240 million.
    • Brazil: hundred and 95 million.
    • Pakistan: 174 million.
    • Nigeria: 158 million.
    • Bangladesh: 149 million.
    • Russia: 143 million.
    • Japan: 127 million.

Time magazine: October 31, 2011, page 23.

Strategy Notes Blue Ocean and Hardball

Strategy Notes. Hardball.

  • Principles. o Focus relentlessly on competitive advantage.
    • Convert competitive advantage into a decisive/dramatic advantage.
    • Employ the indirect attacks.
    • Exploit employees will to win. o Draw a bright line in the caution zone.


  • Unleash massive and overwhelming force.
    • Frito Lay versus Eagle
  • Exploit anomalies.
    • Learn from areas of success, like well above average market share geography.
  • Threaten your competitors profit sanctuaries.
    • Japanese automakers now attacking trucks.
  • Take it and make it your own.
    • The Toyota production system adapted to the casket industry.
  • Entice your competitor into retreat.
  • Break compromises.
    • Identifying needs that are not fully met by current products. Blue Ocean Strategy.
  • Overview.
    • Create uncontested markets versus competing in existing markets.
    • Make the competition irrelevant. o Create and capture new demand.
    • Create a new value equation.
    • Focus on achieving both differentiation/advantage and low cost.
  • Three characteristics of a good strategy.
    • The Company does not diffuse its efforts across all key factors of competition. Focus on a few that really make a difference. Southwest Airlines – friendly service, speed, frequent point-topoint departures.
    • Divergence: do not react to competitors; be different.
    • Clear, easy to understand; inspiring and compelling.
  • Reconstruct market boundaries.
    • Look across alternative industries: look for products that are substitutes or alternatives.
    • Look across strategic groups within industries: the Lexus, Mercedes, and Cadillac story.
    • Look across the chain of buyers. Purchasers, users, and influencers.
    • Look across complementary product and service offerings. Ones that are used in combination with to achieve a convenience advantage.
    • Look across functional or emotional appeal to buyers.
    • Look across time. Faster and higher quality.
  • Focus on the big picture not the numbers.
    • Observed product advantages and disadvantages compared to direct and indirect/alternative products.
  • Reach beyond existing demand.
    • Resist a focus on only existing customers and a drive for deeper segmentation to accommodate by differences.
    • Three tiers of noncustomers.
      • Buyers who minimally purchase products out of necessity but are mentally noncustomers of the industry.
      • People who refuse to use your products.
      • People who have never thought of your products.
  • Strategic sequence.
    • Is their exceptional buyer utility in your business idea? Is there a major competitive advantage?
    • Is the price you want to charge create a value advantage?
    • Can you attain the cost target to profit at your strategic price?
    • What are the adoption hurdles in actualizing your business idea?Strategy Notes Blue Ocean and Hardball

Nielsen Revolutionizes Way Companies Approach Product Innovation

For the First Time, Companies Have Clear Determination of Whether Products Will Succeed in Market

ORLANDO, Fla., Jun 22, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Likelihood of New Product Success Can Improve to 75 percent

Millions of dollars are spent on developing and launching new products each year but the vast majority fail. A new approach by Nielsen, unveiled today at the company's Consumer 360 conference in the U.S., revolutionizes the traditional method and can improve the likelihood of new product success to 75 percent. For the first time, companies have a clear determination of whether new products will succeed and how to increase their odds of success.

Nielsen has identified 12 criteria every new product must meet in order to succeed, with specific recommendations on what companies should change before the new product launch to increase chances of success. Companies spend on average $15 million on marketing for a new product launch, with some companies spending more than $60 million and generally, new products have a 10 percent chance of succeeding. With Nielsen's new approach based on tracking 600 product launches and testing 20,000 initiatives the success rate can improve to 75 percent.

"Nielsen is changing the innovation game," said Vicki Gardner, senior vice president, Product Innovation North America, Nielsen. "By identifying key criteria every successful new product must meet, we're helping marketers know where to focus their efforts in new product development and in-market execution. As a result, companies gain a huge leap forward with more actionable advice and better decision-making, and that means better investment of new product marketing dollars."

In the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, when deciding which new products to pursue, many companies rely on the same core measures from the 'pencil and paper' days of research. While these key dimensions provide a good measure of likely sales, Nielsen's approach goes beyond sales forecasts and provides an understanding of success on consumer benchmark areas, such as 'findability' and advantage over others, for an improved prediction of new product success. "

At Kraft Foods, our growth strategy includes a stepped-up emphasis on great brand marketing and great innovation," said Barry Calpino, vice president, Innovation, Kraft Foods North America. "We feel Nielsen's new method gives us a much richer and more in-depth assessment of our initiatives. And importantly, it's designed to suit the needs and realities of being an innovation project leader -- the person who uses the tool to help make our ideas bigger and better when we go to market."

Twelve Steps to Innovation Nielsen's twelve success factors encompass five main areas:


  1. Distinct Proposition - Does the product offer a true innovation?
  2. Attention- Catching -- Will the product be noticed?


  1. Message Connection - Is your message conveyed in a simple, persuasive way?
  2. Do you have a Clear and Concise Message? Is it conveyed without clutter?


  1. Does your product have a substantial Need/Desire? Is it solving a problem or meeting consumers' needs?
  2. What is your product's Advantage? Is it better than others currently in the marketplace?


Are your product claims believable?

Acceptable Downsides

  1. Typically related to side effects for over-the-counter (OTC) products) Point of Purchase.
  2. Findability - Is the product where consumers expect it to be? Can shoppers find it easily among the competition?
  3. Acceptable Costs - What are the cost/benefit trade-offs at the shelf? This could be price, calorie content, usage instructions, among other factors. Endurance.
  4. Product Delivery - Did you meet or exceed consumers' expectations? Are you delivering on your product's promise?
  5. Product Loyalty -- Will consumers continue to purchase your product in the future?

"You are only as strong as your weakest link," said Gardner. "Take a triathlon as an example. You don't need to be the fastest swimmer, biker or runner, but in order to win you need to do well in each event. You can't win in the swim but get off the bike and push it up the hill. New product success is not about doing one thing really, really well; it's about doing everything you need to do well."

My Favorite Quotes from the Steve Jobs Book

  • This is also, I hope, a book about innovation. At a time when the United States is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build creative digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness, imagination, and sustained innovation. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. He and his colleagues at Apple were able to think differently: They developed not merely modest product advances based on focus groups, but whole new devices and services that consumers did not yet know they needed. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs . Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • “He was an enlightened being who was cruel,” she recalled. “That’s a strange combination.” Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 32). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Jobs began sharing with Kottke other books, including Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, and Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 35). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • “There was a copy there of Autobiography of a Yogi in English that a previous traveler had left, and I read it several times because there was not a lot to do, and I walked around from village to village and recovered from my dysentery.” Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 46-47). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things—that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 49). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Jobs felt that design simplicity should be linked to making products easy to use. Those goals do not always go together. Sometimes a design can be so sleek and simple that a user finds it intimidating or unfriendly to navigate. “The main thing in our design is that we have to make things intuitively obvious,” Jobs told the crowd of design mavens. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 127). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Ever since Apple’s first brochure proclaimed “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Jobs had aimed for the simplicity that comes from conquering complexities, not ignoring them. “It takes a lot of hard work,” he said, “to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.” Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 343). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 343). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 343). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Despite his autocratic nature—he never worshipped at the altar of consensus— Jobs worked hard to foster a culture of collaboration at Apple. Many companies pride themselves on having few meetings. Jobs had many: an executive staff session every Monday, a marketing strategy session all Wednesday afternoon, and endless product review sessions. Still allergic to PowerPoints and formal presentations, he insisted that the people around the table hash out issues from various vantages and the perspectives of different departments. Because he believed that Apple’s great advantage was its integration of the whole widget— from design to hardware to software to content—he wanted all departments at the company to work together in parallel. The phrases he used were “deep collaboration” and “concurrent engineering.” Instead of a development process in which a product would be passed sequentially from engineering to design to manufacturing to marketing and distribution, these various departments collaborated simultaneously. “Our method was to develop integrated products, and that meant our process had to be integrated and collaborative,” Jobs said. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 362). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • “We’ve only got one chance to get it right.” Jobs liked to tell the story—and he did so to his team that day—about how everything that he had done correctly had required a moment when he hit the rewind button. In each case he had to rework something that he discovered was not perfect. He talked about doing it on Toy Story, when the character of Woody had evolved into being a jerk, and on a couple of occasions with the original Macintosh. “If something isn’t right, you can’t just ignore it and say you’ll fix it later,” he said. “That’s what other companies do.” Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 373). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • By 2004 Apple stores were averaging 5,400 per week. That year the stores had $1.2 billion in revenue, setting a record in the retail industry for reaching the billion-dollar milestone. Sales in each store were tabulated every four minutes by Ellison’s software, giving instant information on how to integrate manufacturing, supply, and sales channels. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 374). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • In July 2011, a decade after the first ones opened, there were 326 Apple stores. The biggest was in London’s Covent Garden, the tallest in Tokyo’s Ginza. The average annual revenue per store was $34 million, and the total net sales in fiscal 2010 were $9.8 billion. But the stores did even more. They directly accounted for only 15% of Apple’s revenue, but by creating buzz and brand awareness they indirectly helped boost everything the company did. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 376). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Jobs launched a new grand strategy that would transform Apple—and with it the entire technology industry. The personal computer, instead of edging toward the sidelines, would become a “digital hub” that coordinated a variety of devices, from music players to video recorders to cameras. You’d link and sync all these devices with your computer, and it would manage your music, pictures, video, text, and all aspects of what Jobs dubbed your “digital lifestyle.” Apple would no longer be just a computer company—indeed it would drop that word from its name—but the Macintosh would be reinvigorated by becoming the hub for an astounding array of new gadgets, including the iPod and iPhone and iPad. When he was turning thirty, Jobs had used a metaphor about record albums. He was musing about why folks over thirty develop rigid thought patterns and tend to be less innovative. “People get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them,” he said. At age forty-five, Jobs was now about to get out of his groove. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 379). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Jobs had another insight: If the computer served as the hub, it would allow the portable devices to become simpler. A lot of the functions that the devices tried to do, such as editing the video or pictures, they did poorly because they had small screens and could not easily accommodate menus filled with lots of functions. Computers could handle that more easily. And one more thing . . . What Jobs also saw was that this worked best when everything—the device, computer, software, applications, FireWire—was all tightly integrated. “I became even more of a believer in providing end-to-end solutions,” he recalled. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 381). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Jobs unveiled iTunes at the January 2001 Macworld as part of the digital hub strategy. It would be free to all Mac users, he announced. “Join the music revolution with iTunes, and make your music devices ten times more valuable,” he concluded to great applause. As his advertising slogan would later put it: Rip. Mix. Burn. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 383-384). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • The next step for the digital hub strategy was to make a portable music player. Jobs realized that Apple had the opportunity to design such a device in tandem with the iTunes software, allowing it to be simpler. Complex tasks could be handled on the computer, easy ones on the device. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10- 24). Steve Jobs (p. 384). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • At the end of a routine meeting with Toshiba, the engineers mentioned a new product they had in the lab that would be ready by that June. It was a tiny, 1.8- inch drive (the size of a silver dollar) that would hold five gigabytes of storage (about a thousand songs), and they were not sure what to do with it. When the Toshiba engineers showed it to Rubinstein, he knew immediately what it could be used for. A thousand songs in his pocket! Perfect. But he kept a poker face. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 385). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Once the project was launched, Jobs immersed himself in it daily. His main demand was “Simplify!” He would go over each screen of the user interface and apply a rigid test: If he wanted a song or a function, he should be able to get there in three clicks. And the click should be intuitive. If he couldn’t figure out how to navigate to something, or if it took more than three clicks, he would be brutal. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 388). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • In order to make the iPod really easy to use—and this took a lot of arguing on my part—we needed to limit what the device itself would do. Instead we put that functionality in iTunes on the computer. For example, we made it so you couldn’t make playlists using the device. You made playlists on iTunes, and then you synced with the device. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 389). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Jobs realized that there was yet another advantage to the fact that Apple had an integrated system of computer, software, and device. It meant that sales of the iPod would drive sales of the iMac. That, in turn, meant that he could take money that Apple was spending on iMac advertising and shift it to spending on iPod ads—getting a double bang for the buck. A triple bang, actually, because the ads would lend luster and youthfulness to the whole Apple brand. He recalled: I had this crazy idea that we could sell just as many Macs by advertising the iPod. In addition, the iPod would position Apple as evoking innovation and youth. So I moved $75 million of advertising money to the iPod, even though the category didn’t justify one hundredth of that. That meant that we completely dominated the market for music players. We outspent everybody by a factor of about a hundred. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 391-392). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • “Steve did something brilliant,” said Morris. “He proposed this complete system: the iTunes Store, the music-management software, the iPod itself. It was so smooth. He had the whole package.” Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 399). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Indeed Sony provided a clear counterexample to Apple. It had a consumer electronics division that made sleek products and a music division with beloved artists (including Bob Dylan). But because each division tried to protect its own interests, the company as a whole never got its act together to produce an endto-end service. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 400). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Bill Gates himself weighed in at 10:46 that night. His subject line, “Apple’s Jobs again,” indicated his frustration. “Steve Jobs’s ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right, and market things as revolutionary are amazing things,” he said. He too expressed surprise that Jobs had been able to convince the music companies to go along with his store. “This is very strange to me. The music companies’ own operations offer a service that is truly unfriendly to the user. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 404). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • But Sony couldn’t. It had pioneered portable music with the Walkman, it had a great record company, and it had a long history of making beautiful consumer devices. It had all of the assets to compete with Jobs’s strategy of integration of hardware, software, devices, and content sales. Why did it fail? Partly because it was a company, like AOL Time Warner, that was organized into divisions (that word itself was ominous) with their own bottom lines; the goal of achieving synergy in such companies by prodding the divisions to work together was usually elusive. Jobs did not organize Apple into semiautonomous divisions; he closely controlled all of his teams and pushed them to work as one cohesive and flexible company, with one profit-and-loss bottom line. “We don’t have ‘divisions’ with their own P&L,” said Tim Cook. “We run one P&L for the company.” In addition, like many companies, Sony worried about cannibalization. If it built a music player and service that made it easy for people to share digital songs, that might hurt sales of its record division. One of Jobs’s business rules was to never be afraid of cannibalizing yourself. “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will,” he said. So even though an iPhone might cannibalize sales of an iPod, or an iPad might cannibalize sales of a laptop, that did not deter him. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 407-408). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • “If Apple continues to rely on a proprietary architecture,” the Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen told Wired, “the iPod will likely become a niche product.” (Other than in this case, Christensen was one of the world’s most insightful business analysts, and Jobs was deeply influenced by his book The Innovator’s Dilemma.) Bill Gates made the same argument. “There’s nothing unique about music,” he said. “This story has played out on the PC.” Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 408-409). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • In January 2007 iPod sales were half of Apple’s revenues. The device also added luster to the Apple brand. But an even bigger success was the iTunes Store. Having sold one million songs in the first six days after it was introduced in April 2003, the store went on to sell seventy million songs in its first year. In February 2006 the store sold its one billionth song when Alex Ostrovsky, sixteen, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, bought Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” and got a congratulatory call from Jobs, bestowing upon him ten iPods, an iMac, and a $10,000 music gift certificate. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 410). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • By the end of 2010, Apple had sold ninety million iPhones, and it reaped more than half of the total profits generated in the global cell phone market. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 474). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • In less than a month Apple sold one million iPads. That was twice as fast as it took the iPhone to reach that mark. By March 2011, nine months after its release, fifteen million had been sold. By some measures it became the most successful consumer product launch in history. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 498). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Jobs soon figured out that there was a way to have the best of both worlds. He would permit outsiders to write apps, but they would have to meet strict standards, be tested and approved by Apple, and be sold only through the iTunes Store. It was a way to reap the advantage of empowering thousands of software developers while retaining enough control to protect the integrity of the iPhone and the simplicity of the customer experience. “It was an absolutely magical solution that hit the sweet spot,” said Levinson. “It gave us the benefits of openness while retaining end-to-end control.” The App Store for the iPhone opened on iTunes in July 2008; the billionth download came nine months later. By the time the iPad went on sale in April 2010, there were 185,000 available iPhone apps. Most could also be used on the iPad, although they didn’t take advantage of the bigger screen size. But in less than five months, developers had written twenty-five thousand new apps that were specifically configured for the iPad. By July 2011 there were 500,000 apps for both devices, and there had been more than fifteen billion downloads of them. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 501-502). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • Was it better, as Apple believed and as Jobs’s own controlling perfectionism almost compelled, to tie the hardware and software and content handling into one tidy system that assured a simple user experience? Or was it better to give users and manufacturers more choice and free up avenues for more innovation, by creating software systems that could be modified and used on different devices? Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 513). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. We believe that it’s technology married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 527). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • At his house the following day he was still on a high. He was planning to fly to Kona Village the next day, alone, and I asked to see what he had put on his iPad 2 for the trip. There were three movies: Chinatown, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Toy Story 3. More revealingly, there was just one book that he had downloaded: The Autobiography of a Yogi, the guide to meditation and spirituality that he had first read as a teenager, then reread in India, and had read once a year ever since. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 527). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. Everything else was secondary. Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products. But the products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It’s a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything: the people you hire, who gets promoted, what you discuss in meetings. Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page. Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place. There are a lot of people innovating, and that’s not the main distinction of my career. The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves. In fact some of the best people working on the original Mac were poets and musicians on the side. In the seventies computers became a way for people to express their creativity. Great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were also great at science. Michelangelo knew a lot about how to quarry stone, not just how to be a sculptor. People pay us to integrate things for them, because they don’t have the time to think about this stuff 24/7. If you have an extreme passion for producing great products, it pushes you to be integrated, to connect your hardware and your software and content management. You want to break new ground, so you have to do it yourself. If you want to allow your products to be open to other hardware or software, you have to give up some of your vision. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10- 24). Steve Jobs (pp. 567-568). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company. John Akers at IBM was a smart, eloquent, fantastic salesperson, but he didn’t know anything about product. The same thing happened at Xerox. When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off. It happened at Apple when Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when Ballmer took over at Microsoft. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (pp. 568-569). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  • What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that’s been done by others before us. I didn’t invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It’s about trying to express something in the only way that most of us know how—because we can’t write Bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays. We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what has driven me. Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (p. 570). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

My Top 12 Quotes From Jim Collins GREAT BY CHOICE

Note: 10Xers refers to their select companies who were exceptionally successful overall and especially in chaotic times.

1. They don’t merely react; they create. They don’t merely survive; they prevail. They don’t merely succeed; they thrive. They build great enterprises that can endure. We do not believe that chaos, uncertainty, and instability are good; companies, leaders, organizations, and societies do not thrive on chaos. But they can thrive in chaos. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 66-68). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

2. Contrary finding: The best leaders we studied did not have a visionary ability to predict the future. They observed what worked, figured out why it worked, and built upon proven foundations. They were not more risk taking, more bold, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons. They were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid. ………. Entrenched myth: A threat filled world favors the speedy; you’re either the quick or the dead. Contrary finding: The idea that leading in a “fast world” always requires “fast decisions” and “fast action”—and that we should embrace an overall ethos of “Fast! Fast! Fast!”—is a good way to get killed. 10X leaders figure out when to go fast, and when not to. Entrenched myth: Radical change on the outside requires radical change on the inside. Contrary finding: The 10X cases changed less in reaction to their changing world than the comparison cases. Just because your environment is rocked by dramatic change does not mean that you should inflict radical change upon yourself. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 183-188). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

3. On the one hand, 10Xers understand that they face continuous uncertainty and that they cannot control, and cannot accurately predict, significant aspects of the world around them. On the other hand, 10Xers reject the idea that forces outside their control or chance events will determine their results; they accept full responsibility for their own fate. 10Xers then bring this idea to life by a triad of core behaviors: fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia. Animating these three core behaviors is a central motivating force, Level 5 ambition. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 325-333). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

4. The 10Xers did not generally make bolder moves than their less successful comparisons; both groups made big bets and, when needed, took dramatic action. Nor did the 10Xers exude more raw confidence than the comparison leaders; indeed, the comparison leaders were often brazenly self-confident. But the 10Xers had a much deeper empirical foundation for their decisions and actions, which gave them well-founded confidence and bounded their risk. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck-- Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 453-456). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

5. 10Xers differ from their less successful comparisons in how they maintain hypervigilance in good times as well as bad. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 505-509). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

6. So, why did people follow them? Because of a deeply attractive form of ambition: 10Xers channel their ego and intensity into something larger and more enduring than themselves. They’re ambitious, to be sure, but for a purpose beyond themselves, be it building a great company, changing the world, or achieving some great object that’s ultimately not about them. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 531-533). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

7. The 10Xers share Level 5 leaders’ most important trait: they’re incredibly ambitious, but their ambition is first and foremost for the cause, for the company, for the work, not themselves. Whereas Good to Great focused heavily on the humility aspect of Level 5 leaders, this work highlights their sheer ferocity of will. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 565-567). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

8. 10Xers display three core behaviors that, in combination, distinguish them from the leaders of the less successful comparison companies:

  • Fanatic discipline: 10Xers display extreme consistency of action—consistency with values, goals, performance standards, and methods. They are utterly relentless, monomaniacal, unbending in their focus on their quests.
  • Empirical creativity: When faced with uncertainty, 10Xers do not look primarily to other people, conventional wisdom, authority figures, or peers for direction; they look primarily to empirical evidence. They rely upon direct observation, practical experimentation, and direct engagement with tangible evidence. They make their bold, creative moves from a sound empirical base.
  • Productive paranoia: 10Xers maintain hypervigilance, staying highly attuned to threats and changes in their environment, even when—especially when—all’s going well. They assume conditions will turn against them, at perhaps the worst possible moment. They channel their fear and worry into action, preparing, developing contingency plans, building buffers, and maintaining large margins of safety. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 634-640). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

9. A bullet is an empirical test aimed at learning what works and that meets three criteria:

  • A bullet is low cost. Note: the size of a bullet grows as the enterprise grows; a cannonball for a $1 million enterprise might be a bullet for a $1 billion enterprise.
  • A bullet is low risk. Note: low risk doesn’t mean high probability of success; low risk means that there are minimal consequences if the bullet goes awry or hits nothing. 3. A bullet is low distraction. Note: this means low distraction for the overall enterprise; it might be very high distraction for one or a few individuals. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Location 1343). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

10. The iPod story illustrates a crucial point: a big, successful venture can look in retrospect like a single-step creative breakthrough when, in fact, it came about as a multistep iterative process based more upon empirical validation than visionary genius. The marriage of fanatic discipline and empirical creativity better explains Apple’s revival than breakthrough innovation per se. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 1578-1581). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

11. 10Xers build buffers and shock absorbers far beyond the norm of what others do. The 10X companies we studied carried 3 to 10 times the ratio of cash to assets relative to the median of what most companies carry and maintained more conservative balance sheets than the comparison companies throughout their histories, even when they were small enterprises. ► 10X cases are extremely prudent in how they approach and manage risk, paying special attention to three categories of risk: 1. Death Line risk (which can kill or severely damage the enterprise) 2. Asymmetric risk (in which the downside dwarfs the upside) 3. Uncontrollable risk (which cannot be controlled or managed). Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 2053-2059). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

12. We sense a dangerous disease infecting our modern culture and eroding hope: an increasingly prevalent view that greatness owes more to circumstance, even luck, than to action and discipline—that what happens to us matters more than what we do. In games of chance, like a lottery or roulette, this view seems plausible. But taken as an entire philosophy, applied more broadly to human endeavor, it’s a deeply debilitating life perspective, one that we can’t imagine wanting to teach young people. Collins, Jim (2011). Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Kindle Locations 3125-3127). HarperBusiness. Kindle Edition.

Articles of Interest

The creative process from former top P&G Exec

The Creative Process: 8 Steps . Drawn from Material Originally Developed by Richard Nicolosi.

1. Become aware of a situation which requires a solution.

2. Obtain all the pertinent facts necessary in defining the problem, especially researching the issues.

3. Create a simple, clear articulation of the problem/opportunity.

4. Idea generation the key thought here is to think of all conceivable alternatives–regardless of how far-fetched–and evaluate them later on.

5. Evaluate and select. As you review the ideas, pay particular attention to the “wild ones” as there may be a kernel of a practical, truly creative idea within it. It has been my experience that the evaluative process is best done several times at several day intervals so that the mind has an opportunity to absorb, retain, and judge ideas.

6. Develop a plan, salad, translated into action. Selling an idea means, importantly, putting yourselves in the shoes of the person you are selling the idea to, and thinking of the benefits to that person of your idea.

7. Make it happen in the marketplace.

Thoughts on Things You Can Do to Become More Creative.

Drawn from Material Originally Developed by Richard Nicolosi.

  • Learn as much as you can about whatever it is that you want to do.
  • Think illogically. Do not reject ideas because they don't make sense.
  • Go against conventional wisdom. Don't follow rules. Be different.
  • Daydream. Let your mind wander; it'll come back to the subject eventually of your own accord.
  • Brainstorm. Record every idea that pops into your head. Make no judgments whatsoever as you think of ideas. Don't eliminate any of them, even if they seem absurd.
  • Grapple with a problem for a while, then drop it and take up a totally relaxing activity. Often the solution will pop into your head while you are doing something that you enjoy.
  • Have fun; let yourself go. Don't be serious and careful. Be flaky, spacey.
  • B devil may care; don't worry about pleasing others or being right. Don't struggle or try too hard.
  • Think in pictures instead of words or numbers. Your senses of sound, touch and taste.
  • Use metaphors. See the unexpected similarities in the world and you. Permit yourself to make unusual, even bizarre, associations.
  • Develop your aesthetic sense. Pay attention to what you see. Be sensitive to form, color, and texture.
  • Get in touch with your emotions. Feel more intensely. Trust your heart, not your head. A new employee once asked Edison about the rules and regulations in his lab. Edison's reply, “Hell, there ain't any rules. Were trying to accomplish something.”