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The Steve Jobs Halo Effect

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Monday, 20 June 2011

“All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it's absolutely necessary. And three, be nice.” – Dalton, “Road House” (1989), Silver Pictures

iAnything is the Answer…What Was the Question?


If Steve Jobs had a Facebook page, he’d probably have more “likes” than, well…anyone.
He doesn’t though, he prefers Twitter…yeah, right!
Some people even go beyond liking Steve. Remember the guy at Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) who blurted out, “Steve, we love you.”?
Cupertino city council had a similar view when he presented Apple’s super concept for the company’s new campus.
Come on, the spaceship is cool.
It’ll be great to see a building in the Valley that isn’t just another tilt-up slab.

New Home – Like it or hate it, there’s a fit/finish/design of an Apple product that people try their darndest to copy. Writers constantly urge companies to make “a better than Apple solution”– an iPhone killer, an iPad killer, a Mac killer. We suppose now there will be a rush for companies everywhere to have an Apple killer home.

It’s a helluva’ recruitment tool
…”O.K., kid, how much do you want to pay to work at our super cool company?”
The back-to-back events exemplify what Apple does best…manage perception. Jay Elliot came to the same conclusion in his recently published book, “The Steve Jobs Way,” which is a great up close, personal view of Jobs “different” management style.
Too many folks hold Steve in awe like Apple begins and ends with him. They overlook the fact that he has brought together probably the best management team you’ve ever seen.
J.C. Penney thought so when they sweet-talked Ron Johnson, Apple’s retail head, to rejuvenate the aged brand. That team has created a darned good hardware/software/service mix that people believe was designed just for them…really.
Folks buy their products because they’re elegant.
For the most part, they just work…when they have a problem, it’s their fault.
You know:
- Macs don’t crash
- Macs don’t get viruses
- AT&T caused all the iPhone problems (the ones Verizon now experiences)
- iPhone antenna problem, hold the phone differently
- iPhone screen breaks when the unit’s dropped…don’t drop it

Apple simply manages its perception better than any other company in the world.

He may have some engineering in him, but Steve cares about design look/feel first.

People simply have a hard time looking past the Steve halo effect.

Perception Incarnate –
The aura of Steve attracts followers from near and far. Why would anyone insist on flying halfway around the globe to stand in line for hours to be one of the first to pay big bucks to buy their iWhatever? Then stand in the same line to get the updated version and the next updated version? For Apple, it’s money in the bank. Image Source - GizModo

You know – WWSD, WWSJD (what would Steve do, what would Steve Jobs do).

Morgan explained it a different way, “If you're not drinking, you're outta here!”

Thousands – competitors, academics, wannabes – have struggled to pinpoint the reasons people’s eyes glaze over when he takes the stage.

Recently, the BBC showed a documentary where UK neuroscientists suggested the brains of Apple devotees are stimulated by Apple imagery in the same way that the brains of religious people are stimulated by religious imagery.

Your Brain On – For those who live and breathe Apple solutions, they have the ones that are here today and think about those that will replace them. Who knew fruit was addictive?

Yeah, that might explain it.
Lots of people want to know how they can produce the same messiah effect when they enter a room.
You know, folks like Ballmer (MS), Schmidt (Google), Apotheker (HP), Zuck (Facebook), Stringer (Sony) and people in public office.
Jobs simply repeats Dalton’s philosophy, “I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice.”
Jobs and his team use social engineering to the nth degree. Just look at the “spectacular” breakthrough announcements he made.

Death of the PC

Steve said that Apple’s announcements would kill the PC.

Well, Yeah!

But don’t tell an engineer, scientist or serious gamer that the combination of a tablet and the cloud is all he/she will need. It ain’t gonna’ happen!

Desktop/server sales may be growing more slowly, but sometimes growth needs a breather.



PC Killers – People hear the Apple announcements and repeat the words…the iPad/tablet will change PC usage, the iCloud/any cloud will eliminate PC usage. The words are so strong, every manufacturer rushes to make their copies or stake out their own cloud. Of course, Apple executives don’t suffer from that distortion field because they keep refining their computer solutions while they extend their product lines and open new virtual and real stores.


Yes, the iPad and the Mac Air were wakeup calls for notebook makers (and suppliers).

Apple made a great decision by making their OS work across all platforms – phones, tablets, computers.

MS is working in that direction, knocking down their product/technology silos and starting to think/act as one team.

A netbook–Chrome, Ultra, whatever – works with the cloud and everyone knows big, fast connectivity is just everywhere. And when you’re in the cloud, you’re as safe as you are driving in Italy’s traffic.

The choice, of course, is a really thin, featherweight unit with a 64GB SSD (solid-state drive) or a thin, pretty light unit with Toshiba’s new 1TB notebook HD…gee, tough choice.
Tablets (iPad) are so cool even her highness Queen Elizabeth II had “her people” go out and buy one for her after using William’s and Charles’ devices.



iStuff is for Kids – A lot of marketing types get the idea that only kids are buying the new iProducts for doing all their stuff in social media. Boomers and beyond are buying, embracing, adoption the new hardware/software/services just as fast and it’s only the smart marketers that reach out to them. They are also more loyal to the folks who help them make the right product solutions, get the right support. Image – Royal Archives

Yes, she has a Mac and some kind of smartphone; but she thought the iPad would be great for looking at pictures, watching movies/videos, playing games, reading on her many long trips.
True, some companies that are getting tablets for employees to use and there are some excellent applications emerging (healthcare is ideal); but the tablet is still viewed as a personal device.
There’s the distortion use zone – work, play, everything – and there are the real uses.
In March, ABI Research found netbooks (Chromebook, Ultra, Mac Air, etc.) and tablets are neck-and-neck in terms of consumer interest.
- 25% of respondents were interested in getting a netbook
- 27% were interested in an iPad/tablet
- 60% didn’t see a need for either
People intent on getting a tablet sorta’ agreed with the Queen. Their uses would be:
- 82% intend to use email
- 71% expect to use a web browser
- 57% plan to watch TV or download movies
- 56% intend to use social networking
- 55% plan to play games
Purchases of these companion devices mean folks will prolong their PC’s lifecycle and delay replacement. At least that’s the way it’s working in our family.

You’ll Work, Play, Live in the iCloud

Cloud storage isn’t new.

Businesses haven’t embraced public clouds because they just aren’t manageable, aren’t safe/secure.

Public cloud services like DropBox have “issues” because of the way they gather/use user information and lose stuff.

Dalton looked at it and commented, “You're too stupid to have a good time.”

iCloud is a pretty good storage/syncing solution:
- You can store a whole 5GB of stuff there. Want more storage? It will come at “some” price, but other public clouds offer more capacity
- Users need to entrust the security of their data to Apple and that information can potentially be accessed any Mac, PC, iOS-based device over the open network
- It automatically/seamlessly syncs documents, photos, contacts, apps, e-mails, other content with Macs, PCs (Win7 or Vista), and iOS-based devices. If you’ve ever tried to do it manually…it sucks! NOTE – Apple devices work best.



Cute Cloud – Cloud service isn’t new. Document, file syncing isn’t new. It doesn’t matter when Apple “announces the breakthrough” it’s new, bigger, better, destined for greatness. Of course, you notice those are all Apple devices, apps from their stores. Works great in this environment. Others are allowed in, it’s just that doesn’t work “quite” as well.

Yes, iCloud–any cloud service –will:
- lose stuff – irreplaceable personal/family photos/videos, important documents
- be hacked – the more potential, the more the temptation
- be unavailable from time to time
As Dalton said, “It'll get worse before it gets better.”
That’s why we thought Seagate came up with a slap-in-the-side-of-the-head solution – a WiFi portable HD.


Swwwweeeetttt – Apple fans may agree with company statements that 32 or 64GB of solid-state storage is all anyone really needs because they’ll put everything in the cloud (that big 5GB), but in the back of their mind they want more storage. Seagate’s 500GB Wi-Fi HD is a reason to buy an iPad. It not only has its own power, it’s much less of a hack target than the big beautiful cloud.

Throw the stuff you don’t care about up in the cloud and keep the stuff that’s special/private on the Wi-Fi drive.
It sure shuts you up about the lack/shortage of USB ports doesn’t it?

Mobile Device Storage

Mobile devices – notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones – are rapidly becoming mainstream. That’s especially true of people who are doing more and more computing with their devices.

And while SSD has a lot of advantages, it will be years and tens/hundreds of millions of devices before it replaces HDs.

It has something to do with the reliability of the iNet connection, the capacity/reliability, security.

HD, SSD – Instant-on capabilities and low power consumption are super reasons to buy an SSD-based device. But the newest notebooks are better, lighter, faster than those of a year ago and with 500GB/1TB internal drives you can carry, work on, use, show, share your everything even when the cloud isn’t available or has somehow disappeared. Working mobile devices won’t go away anytime soon.


The iPad and other tablets are for a little bit of work and a whole lot of downtime, according to a recent Vision Critical study:
- browsing – 64%
- photos, music, video – 58%:
- access/use apps – 54%
- news/information – 51%
- books, newspapers, magazines – 51%
- communications/social networking – 50%
- shopping – 41%
- games – 34%

Management and new kids will bring their devices to work. They’ll use them in the office. The boss will say support my iPhone, iPad, Mac; protect my data. IT will say “Yep!”

The secret, the difference…”It’s an Apple.”



Consistency – Now this is the real Apple secret – a consistent look and feel. Steve doesn’t have to think about what he’s going to wear, so he can focus all of his attention on making pretty darn good products and compelling messages. Other companies don’t have that luxury. New bosses every couple of years, new marketing/promotion people who obviously know the last stuff was horrible so they rollout a new idea, new campaign. New stuff from an image you instantly recognize has a lot of street credibility.

Others change bosses, change messages, change look/feel every time they turn around.

It’s a familiar signpost in a constantly changing, uncertain world:
- “the future of (fill in the blank)”
- “One more thing”
- Image
- Perception
- Consistency


Dalton calmly pointed out, “Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he'll drop like a stone.”

It’s all part of the Apple Way …

As Dalton said
…”Sorry, we're closed.”

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