I admit that I am a geek. I watch all of the Apple keynote addresses online and emit phrases such as “wow” and “that’s cool” at the appropriate times. In the past few years, I’ve fallen hard for Apple and now could not imagine doing the “computing” that I do without my Macs. But I was incredibly intrigued by something I’d not noticed before that occurred at the end of the Apple keynote by Steve Jobs this past week. To use the language of church folks, I do believe Jobs started to preach. Using the image of the intersection of technology and liberal arts, Jobs in essence outlined the Apple philosophy: make high-quality and hi-tech products that are intuitive and fun to use and that meet the customers where they are (ie. no learning curve required).
In the penultimate chapter of What Would Google Do?, author Jeff Jarvis discusses Apple’s business model, running it through the list of “Google rules” he outlines in the first part of the book and noting that Apple breaks most of the rules that have made Google extremely successful and that Jarvis sees as the best guidelines for emerging companies in the coming decades. By the end of the chapter he recapitulates somewhat and agrees with others that what Apple has done is to make aesthetically pleasing and intuitive products that people enjoy using. They connect users with music, the internet, movies, TV shows, university lectures, family photos…and the list goes on. And they make sure their users become not only users, but life-long fans. In essence, I have just written an ad for Apple. This is precisely what they want, and most users are happy to oblige.