A Steve Jobs Approach to Product Development

Today I was reading a post from one of my favorite VC bloggers, Brad Feld, in which he included a really inspiring video (embedded below). In this video Steve Jobs is responding a pretty caustic question from the audience. Turns out that the question doesn’t really matter, but Steve Jobs offers a fascinating insight into the idea of developing with the customer in mind first as opposed to seeing how a technology can benefit the customer.

I love ideas like this that provide a new lens for looking at a business. I am quite sure that as I talk about ideas for businesses with people I’m now going to regularly ask them about the customer experience they want to achieve. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure a number of the responses to that question will go something like, “Umm…Yeah…Ummm…That’s a good question. I just really love this simple technology that’s able to do XYZ function.” Helping them understand the customer focused approach will be a challenge.

I hope others hold me accountable for it too.

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3 Responses to “A Steve Jobs Approach to Product Development”

  1. Joan Says:

    John…focusing on the customer is key. Many folks (The Sharper Image comes to mind) just build it and “think” they will come. The product or service must fill a need.

    I started 2 businesses that were Mac based back when the Mac wasn’t cool. The 2 businesses had no outside financing, just lots of hard work. They went from 0 to $2 million in just a couple of years. Not huge by today’s standards, but showing a 30% profit margin is something lenders like to see.

    Your healthcare blogs are excellent. I guess the question is, how does one with a reputable blog like yours generate revenue…is it ad clicks?

  2. Joan Says:

    Good book: The Change Function-Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn by Pip Coburn

  3. John Says:

    Hi Joan,
    Thanks for commenting. I love really high margin businesses that were built on hard work as well. Luckily, the blogs have done really well with amazing margins since the costs are so low. Although, it’s taken a while to get to this point.

    It’s funny you ask about how to monetize my blogs. I get asked this so much, I’ve just begun starting an online resource that walks people through how to create, market and monetize a blog using the principles I use. So, you can watch for that.

    The short story on monetization is that I use 3 main methods:
    -Direct Sale Ads (ads I sell)
    -PPC Ads (mostly Adsense)
    -Affiliate/Lead Generation

    The big money for me usually has come from the direct sale ads, but with a reasonable amount of scale the other revenue sources do pretty well also.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll add it to my list of interesting books to look at.

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