Apple mastermind has passed away
The interest in Apple based stories has skyrocketed in the months following CEO Steve Jobs’ untimely death last year, with people desperately seeking an insight into the world of the most profitable company in existence.
Focussing on the experience of the author while he worked as a creative marketing consultant for Apple under Steve Jobs, Insanely Simple doesn’t often veer too much towards the technical side of things, instead focussing on the marketing practices of the company and comparing them with those found at other tech companies, such as Dell.
But don’t let that put you off. While “big business” marketing might not seem like the most interesting of topics for a book, Segall expertly puts the reader’s mind at ease within the first few pages, explaining that Apple is no ordinary company right across the board. While most other companies the size of Apple insists on committees answering to committees answering to committees, the ingrained mentality at Cupertino is completely different, putting trust in people to do their own jobs properly – something that’s reflected in the company’s performance in the last decade and a half.
Despite the lack of any real insight into the technical aspect of Apple’s operation under Jobs, the book gives us a terrific understanding of the mentality that helped him save the company from an almost certain demise back in 1997 when he returned for a second stint as CEO. Whatever your view on Apple, it makes for a wonderful read, full of excellent anecdotes about Segall’s one on one experience with Jobs including his famous “rotating turret”, the “simple stick” and his no-nonsense approach to dealing with people.
While you might not find all the information you had been hoping for on Jobs himself (Segall prefers to tease at information about the man, while providing his own personal experiences from meetings and phone calls with him), there are some genuinely amusing stories to be found here – particularly when it comes to his abrupt and blunt nature.
Those of you who work for large companies will no doubt appreciate some of the observations made regarding unnecessary complexity, while at the same time wondering just why Apple’s motto of simplicity over all else hasn’t yet managed to permeate its way further through businesses across the world. It’s a real head scratcher, but Segall does a great job of explaining the problems faced by those who want to make the simple way their only way.
Of course, there’s plenty of background to the company’s resurgence, particularly when it comes to the branding of the iMac and iPhone, so it’ll be of interest to all you Apple lovers out there for that reason alone. Anyone with an interest in good marketing practice will also find plenty to interest them, particularly when it comes to following Jobs’ adage of keeping it as simple as possible at all times.
Available from April 26th, Insanely Simple is a fascinating read that works on many levels, and genuinely should have something for everyone. No matter what your level of knowledge on marketing, Apple, Jobs or simplicity, there’s plenty to be learned thanks to the clear, concise and often amusing writing style of the author.
It certainly isn’t the longest or most in-depth book on the subject, but it offers a refreshing twist and serves up plenty of first hand information rather than the usual “friend of a friend” approach and will provide you with an excellent afternoon’s reading.