There was a time when Apple had 350 products. Name them. You can’t? Well, a lot of people probably can’t either. At least that’s what Steve Jobs thought. Or else he thought that 350 was an awful lot of products for one company. So in 1998 he pared it down to 10. Perhaps he was thinking that the number of products offered should be equal either to the number of toes or fingers but not both. Whatever the truth, the act of paring down was noticed and hailed as courageous. Carmine Gallo, who declares himself as “communications coach to the world’s most admired brands,” believes that the courage to not act on ideas is a true test of business leadership and a driver of innovation. Gallo says that Apple passed Google as the most valuable brand because Steve Jobs is good at focusing on what not to do.
Whether making athletic shoes or sales pitches, the idea is to edit, edit, edit. Take out extra words, pictures or products that are irrelevant to your vision. In making business decisions a good leader knows to that beyond saying “yes” to certain things, it’s important to say “no” to maybe 1,000 things. Simplify by getting rid of the number of moving parts – both literal and figurative. Of course, it’s important to note that Carmine Gallo is a huge fan of Steve Jobs, having written a book about him. And while he may be right about editing, there are companies such as General Mills and Proctor & Gamble that manage numerous brands. But we will never know how much they haven’t done.
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