HubSpot’s annual #Inbound14 offered perhaps one of the most interesting line-ups of all marketing conferences this year. Around 10,000 marketers were “spoiled” with a full agenda of dynamic speakers such as Guy Kawasaki, Simon Sinek, Malcom Gladwell and Martha Stewart – not to mention a truly memorable performance from R&B singer and songwriter Janelle Monáe.
The keynotes were among the highlights of the Boston-located event; I especially enjoyed the “10 Lessons That I Learned from Steve Jobs” presentation given by the former chief evangelist of Apple, Guy Kawasaki. Each lesson was a key principle that Kawasaki thought set Jobs apart from the pack. Here’s a summary of those lessons:
1. Experts are clueless.
Experts are good at giving you advice on the existing world order, but according to Kawasaki, they really can’t tell you how to change the world, innovate or predict the next big thing. Kawasaki said that, in order to truly create change and innovate, you need to listen to yourself.
2. Customers cannot tell you what they need.
Kawasaki refers to the famous Henry Ford quote, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” He added that customers can tell you how to make something better, but if you are after a paradigm change, you’re on your own.
3. The biggest challenges beget the best work.
Apple and Jobs always went against the biggest competitors and the biggest challenges. That inspired them to keep innovating, experimenting and learning.
4. Design counts.
Kawasaki admitted that design doesn’t appeal to everyone, but added that it counts for enough people to be significant. And, he added, “no matter your product or service, good design only enhances the [customer] experience.” We couldn’t agree more.
5. Use big graphics and fonts.
According to Kawasaki, “the point of your presentation is not to give someone the text of what you’re saying; it’s to give them just enough anchor points to follow what you’re saying.”
6. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence.
The world is constantly changing. Kawaski advised attendees to “be nimble and flexible,” even if that would mean reversing your strategy.
7. Value ≠ price.
Kawasaki told the audience that this was one of the most important learnings from Jobs: “Price is something you pay on the first day, but value is the sum total of the experience.”
8. “A” players hire “A+” players.
Kawasaki said that future success is also a recruitment issue. If A-class leaders hire B-class people, B-class people will soon hire C-class people. Kawasaki pointed out that one of the keys to Apple’s success was to hire the best of the best.
9. Real CEOs do the demos.
Companies cannot be thought leaders – only people can. CEOs cannot be hidden in corner offices. They need to be the visible face of the company.
10. Marketing = unique value.
A market full of similar products and services will drive the whole market to price wars and diminishing returns. Always aim to create something that has unique value – like the iPod + iTunes combination or a connected car.
Optimists are the Best Innovators
Kawasaki concluded by saying that skeptics aren’t the best innovators. Optimists are. In order ignite a paradigm change, you have to be able to see something valuable, unique and something that doesn’t yet exist and make it happen.
Comptel believes Kawaski’s innovative mindset is also important in the context of the telecommunications industry. Now, more than ever, communications service providers (CSPs) should find new ways to provide value for customers. Most CSPs are engaged in a price war, but are doing little else to really meet the customer’s needs. These days, though, true value means giving customer what they want on a personal level across every touchpoint. That’s because value is no longer about the lowest price, it’s about offering customers something that meets their needs at that exact moment.
That doesn’t just mean implementing new technology that can help modernise operations. It means working on a new culture that bridges silos, leverages Big Data and, above all, creates an unforgettable customer experience by offering value that empowers customers like never before.
In the telecommunications space, cloud is one of the next big innovations. Want to learn more?
Download the Stratecast whitepaper, “Operations & Monetization Platforms in the Cloud: Why the Time May Be Right for Back Office as a Service (BaaS).”