Healthy organizations seem to focus more on what’s wrong with their meme/widget/product than what’s right with it. Healthy organizations are easy to spot–whether you’re purchasing their wares or working in their ranks, it seems healthy. There’s something in the air at these places.
It didn’t seem to me like Steve Jobs spent much time touting the virtues and benefits of Apple’s latest and greatest, with the exception of things like the Expo and interviews, of course. Everything I’ve heard about the man said that he was a visionary; a modern-day Da Vinci, imagining and creating things that we thought were years away.
But I’ve also heard that he was a stickler for results. A man driven with such fervor that it carried throughout the organization. His over-the-top dedication to delivering a perfect product wasn’t just birthed out of the desire to create the “next,” or “future,” it was born out of the desire to fix what was broken today.
Sure, it has a lot to do with who the man was as a leader and as a person. And It could be due to what CNNMoney claims: “there aren’t any committees at Apple, the concept of general management is frowned on…”
Basically, what it comes down to is a focus on fixing what’s not right first, and getting to the point where people come to expect greatness from your offerings.
I don’t want to hear another reason why “this product is better than this one because A, B, and C, and oh yeah–D also,” when that organization should be saying, “yeah, it’s pretty good. But how can it be better?”
I don’t want another product that marginally better than the last version or competing product. I want the product that’s so clearly the better alternative to the others that it really isn’t a competition at all.
But if you don’t have it yet, or aren’t sure how to make it, I’d start by figuring out how to make the absolute best version of what you have.
Forget about the money it costs to produce.
Forget about the time it will take.
Forget about who you need to hire to make it happen.
Just do it.
Can’t? I’m sorry, but I guess you’re not going to offer the best version of it, then. In that case, go do something else and let your competition do it better.
I know I’m contradicting much of what the Lean Startup mentality preaches, and that’s for a reason: this isn’t lean startup advice. This advice is for the company that’s coasting, tanking, slowly growing, or just existing. This advice is for the IBMs, HPs, Chevys, BPs, and a thousand other “eh”-type companies.
This advice is for those who’ve already proven they can do something, and they’re thinking that’s enough.
They want to focus on the “Look, look! Check out what we can do that’s better!” mentality, when they need to focus on the “Look! We fixed all that crap that made you all made before and we dare you to find something wrong with this!”
Note: they will find something wrong with it. It’s inevitable. That’s what makes this all so hard. You’ll spend so much more time, effort, and resources trying to do it way better, making it hurt that much more when someone’s not happy with it.
No one truly thinks Apple is perfect. But many, many people argue that their products are somehow “better” than the rest. That’s because they threw the “norm” out of the water.
A phone that you don’t have to replace every six months? WHAT?!?
A computer that doesn’t fill up with crapware and need to be defragmented every other month? NO WAY!
A tablet that makes everyone realize why they need a tablet? NEVER!
Stop spending R&D money, time, and effort promising eventual improvements. Start plugging holes immediately in the products that you do have. Does your GUI suck? Fix it immediately. Then go make the shopping cart work with AJAX.
Please, please, PLEASE don’t waste my time, and yours, waiting around for your system to be marginally better than the rest. We’re in the technology industry–you realize how quickly everyone else is going to catch up and just make you second-best, right?