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Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I have greatly enjoyed reading "Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success" by Ken Segall. The introductory chapter is titled “The Simple Stick.” People that worked for Apple would talk about when one of their ideas was shot down by Steve Jobs as being “hit with the simple stick.” Segall translated is at: “Steve had rejected their work – not because it was bad but because in some way it failed to distill the idea to its essence. It took a turn when it should have traveled a straight line.”

Here’s what else Segal said:

The Simple Stick symbolizes a core value within Apple. Sometimes its help up as inspiration; other times it’s wielded like a caveman’s club. In all cases, it’s a reminder of what sets Apple apart from other technology companies and what makes Apple stand out in a complicated world: a deep, almost religious belief in the power of Simplicity.

Having played a lead role in the marketing of Intel, Dell, and IBM, as well as Apple, I can assure you that Apple’s focus on Simplicity is unique. It goes beyond enthusiasm, beyond passion, all the way to obsession.

By no means am I saying that Simplicity is the sole factor behind Apple’s success. Leadership, vision, talent, imagination, and incredibly hard work may have just a bit to do with it. But there’s one common thread that runs through it all. That’s Simplicity.

Simplicity not only enables Apple to revolutionize – it enables Apple to revolutionize repeatedly.

If Apple’s obsession with Simplicity is so obvious, and the financial results are equally obvious, why on earth aren’t other technology companies simply copying Apple’s methods to achieve the same level of success?

The quick answer: It ain’t easy.

Simplicity is not merely a layer that can be grafter onto a business. It isn’t available in a prepackaged version. It doesn’t work with an on/off switch. Yet it’s there for absolutely anyone to take advantage of, if only they have the determination and knowledge.