On tour to promote his latest book, ‘Take,’ former Apple executive and iPod designer Tony Fadell spoke to the technology CNBC. The chat includes some tidbits for Apple’s history fans, but Fadell also shared some great advice for anyone in enterprise technology.
The following is a brief description of what has been said.
When creating products, think about why
“You have to be able to tell the ‘why’ story,” Fadell said.
When designing new products, it is important that what is done meets the needs of the customer, solves existing problems, or increases what they can do. Not only that, but good product development does not stop there Whatbut extends to the whyexplaining the product and building a story that relates to people’s lives.
Think about how effective “1,000 songs in your pocket” was as an iPod slogan.
Product stories need to be protected
Your customers are shrewd. If you say that a product can achieve something amazing, you better make sure that it meets the demands.
As with any story, the audience is impatient and will not be able to persuade them to come back if you promise something you do not deliver. “You have to deliver. This is not fiction. Too much marketing is fiction. ”
Summarize from the beginning
Some time ago, Steve Jobs had a written agenda spread online. In a few lines, he summarized concepts that are known today, but are not. Jobs were summarized before the development was completed.
“So many people wait until the end [of a project]”To summarize what a product does and why it matters, Fadell said.
He argues that it’s important to know where you want to get at the beginning, “People don’t film the movie and then they go, ‘Oh, this is the script now and this’s how we sell it,” he said. he. “They come up with a story soon.”
But see “ready for change” below.
Technology is not for geeks
The difference between the iPod and MP3 players around that time was that they used off-the-shelf components and were aimed at a slightly geeky audience. Apple realized that while most people loved music, most of them did not – they were looking for a more refined user experience.
The lesson in product design and what remains to be done was figuring out who the audience is, what they want, and combining the ingredients to create an experience where technology gets out of the way of meeting those needs. . He is user experience design lesson that’s as important for consumer devices as it is for any high – tech enterprise.
Sometimes the best products are born with designers looking for ways to solve pain, as Fadell argues that he succeeded with the Nest thermostat.
But be prepared for change
Steve Jobs initially opposed the notion of providing Windows support for the iPod. He wanted to convince people of the device and Apple retail stores switch to Mac. This didn’t happen at a quick enough clip at that point, and Apple data showed that while Windows users loved iPods they didn’t have the money to switch to a Mac to use one.
“That was the stark reality,” Fadell said.
The data and a conversation with Walt Mossberg’s technology correspondent Walt Mossberg persuaded Jobs to resign.
Do you bring? If your plan is not working, or what you hope it will achieve is not happening, do not be afraid to change course. Good decisions based on evidence are still good decisions. “You have to accept it…, move on and adapt to what you have seen.” The storyline must always be flexible and responsive to change.
Making and correcting mistakes requires leadership. Sometimes you only learn through sending and customer feedback. Fadell says it sometimes takes three versions of something to put it right. The first iteration of any product will largely reflect the views of the people who built it, but then the line will be changed to reflect the details of the real world.
“Many companies have a crisis of confidence because they try to get data on something that does not exist,” Fadell said. Those companies stick to the idea, but they do not get it right. Change is good.
Another problem is that you cannot make good initial decisions as a committee. “Opinion-based decisions cannot be a large group of people, as you come to the lowest common denominator.” That can dilute the situation.
Rivals will always make fun of you first, and then, perhaps, you will win. But not always – Jobs even had an iPod HiFi and a G4 Cube. “People are your heroes too.”
Do not forget to ship
Fadell shared some of his experience with other companies, when teams were so focused on product development that there were constant delays in launch dates. “It was an endless quest to get customer feedback,” he said. “You have to [have] the constraint you have to send within a certain time so you can drive the team to keep them together and motivated. ”
Once the products are in the world, teams can correct the course.
Don’t forget to grow
Reading between the lines, Fadell seemed to go through at least one step as he sought more meaning and more purpose.
“You get into other people’s shoes and you start to be empathetic and realize that not everyone is built like you…, really trying to understand how to communicate, not in your own language, but in their language – what about them, right? ”
Engage with how you think other people make your decisions better informed.
“You have to get out of your space and get into space without losing yourself and being able to bring it back and use those insights to help you do a better job,” he said.
You have to find the person.
3 other things
There is much more in the interview, but three stood out to me:
- “Our job is to communicate technology and deliver it in a way that gives people super powers without being geeky.”
- Perhaps Fadell’s reiterating the most important point, and a point that every business leader should spend time thinking about this time: “There is so much money to be made when disrupting every single market because on the climate crisis. We need to change, so what we have to do to overcome this existing crisis. “
- “If you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough…. You do not want to innovate and you do not want to keep your company fresh. ”
You can see the entire interview here. Fadell ‘s new book is now available.
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11 business lessons from iPod father Tony Fadell
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