Every product it produces is a technical marvel, yet at the same time simple and elegant. It gets more positive coverage from the media than any other technology company.
Apple now is on top of the world, but it wasn’t all that long ago that the company was struggling. The mid 1980s through much of the 1990s were a dark period for the company. Unprofitable with an aging product line, Apple seemed doomed.
It took a reinvigorated returning Steve Jobs to make Apple profitable again.
Watch a video of Steve Jobs rolling out the company’s newest products. He’s dramatic, he’s enthusiastic, and he deeply believes in Apple’s superiority.
He’s an evangelical partisan. He pokes fun at the competition. He’s willing to stretch a point or two to exaggerate Apple’s strength.
He seems to sincerely believe that every Apple product is born perfect in every way. When talking about his products he uses words like remarkable, awesome, and amazing a lot.
Steve Jobs is obsessed about changing the world, in little ways, and in big ways. He thinks big, and he encourages his people to think big.
His goal is to create products with a big oh wow factor.
Which begs the question, what would Steve Jobs do if he ran radio?
If you want to make something really great, you have to believe in it. He would be just as enthusiastic about radio as he is about Apple.
He would understand and believe that radio can be great again. Reflecting on Apple’s turnaround he said:
Apple was in very serious trouble. Apple had to remember who Apple was because they’d forgotten who Apple was.
Despite what Jobs says, Apple products are rarely perfect. Apple tries to create perfect products, but not until they are in people’s hands can Apple make them better.
There is a myth about Jobs and Apple that they don’t do research, they don’t do focus groups. It helps promote the image of a company that makes perfect things. But it is a myth.
Apple relies on a constant flow of information coming from users to modify and improve its products. Call it what you will, it is research, and Apple would be less successful without it.
How else can you explain the evolution of the iPod nano?
He would ask about online alternatives and the differences between the digital and analog experience. How do they differ?
Understanding the user is the key to making meaningful changes. Every new generation of an Apple product is incrementally better than the previous one because users told Jobs how to make it better.
Steve Jobs would surround himself with people who believed in radio, who understood the radio experience, and who believed Steve Jobs could change radio for the better.
Radio today is like Apple in 1993, battered, beleaguered, and unsure of itself. And like Apple, radio needs leadership.
Where are radio’s evangelicals? Who among radio’s leaders are unashamed believers who talk about radio as remarkable, awesome, and amazing?
Anyone at the NAB? Anyone at RAB or Arbitron? Any radio group CEO come to mind?
More than anything else, radio needs its own Steve Jobs, someone who believes in radio.
Who will be radio’s Steve Jobs?