Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple posted on Google+ what the top twelve lessons he learnt from Steve Jobs were. For one, he learnt that experts, aka, journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers etc. are not really experts and are actually clueless. He says that a lot of them tell you how to sell a product when they can't sell it themselves and that they tell you how to manage entire teams when they only manage their secretary. Another lesson he learnt was that consumers cannot tell you what they want. They usually want better versions of the same things that they know, but “Apple's market research”, basically comprised of the two parts of Steve Jobs' brain talking to each other.
An ex-employee speaks on the lessons Jobs taught him
The third lesson he learnt was to jump to the next curve. Don't just improve what's already out there, bring in something new. Instead of using the new daisy wheels in their printers with bigger fonts, Apple moved on to the next curve, that was, laser printing. The fourth lesson was that the biggest challenges beget the best work. Kawasaki's fear was that Jobs would tell him his work was crap, in public. The fear inspired the best work he ever did.
The fifth lesson, and we all know this about Apple, is that design counts. He says Jobs drove people nuts with his design demands. Not the correct shade of black, not the correct colour for the trash can, etc. To most people this is ordinary and mundane, but it matters to the people that matter. Lesson number six was that you can't go wrong with big designs and big fonts. Jobs' presentations always presented text in sixty points with a big graphic. Most other product presentations are done in eight point fonts with no graphics. And Jobs is called the greatest product introduction guy. It's no wonder why.
The next lesson was that intelligent people are able to change their minds. Kawasaki sites the example of when the iPhone first came out and Jobs was against apps. Six months later, he realized, or someone convinced him, that apps were the way to go. He changed his mind and now there's an app for virtually everything. Lesson number eight was that value is different from price. The price of a gadget cannot be the only reason you buy it and clearly, with Apple products with their high prices, it's more the value of the product than the price that drives customers to buy them.
The ninth lesson is that A players hire A+ players. A lot of B players hire C players so they can feel superior to their subordinates, however, A players will hire people on their level or better than them otherwise you will have what Steve Jobs called the “bozo explosion”. Lesson number ten was that real CEOs demo their products. Many times, a CEO will allow their VP of Engineering demo their new products and that might be because they want to make it seem like the product was a team effort, but it's usually because they don't fully understand the product.
Lesson number eleven is that real CEOs ship. Jobs could always ship his products. If there was ever any imperfection (remember Antennagate?), the product was still good enough to ship. Apple was an engineering centric company, not a research centric company. Finally, lesson number twelve was that marketing boils down to a unique value product. You can have a product that's unique but has no value or a product that has value but that's not unique. In an absolute 'bozo' situation, you'd have a product that's neither unique, nor has any value. The iPod, when it first came out, provided a new way users could download and listen to music for cheap from six different record companies. The product was both unique and had value.
A bonus lesson that Kawasaki talks about is that some things need to be believed before they are seen. Not everyone will believe your ideas when you have them, and that's okay. But the major part of your ideas coming to fruition is making people believe. And, that's what both Jobs and Wozniak did, Kawasaki explains.