Customer Experience Lessons From Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO of Apple. That’s a big loss for Apple. Jobs transformed Apple from a niche computer maker to one of the most influential technology/consumer product companies on earth. Under his leadership, Apple developed iPods, iPads, iTunes, iPhones, Apple Stores, etc. That’s an incredible portfolio. Thank you Steve!

We can learn a lot about customer experience and design from Steve Jobs. Rather than write a bunch of things, I decided to pull together a collection of Jobs’ quotes. There’s a lot to learn from his words:

  • Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
  • Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
  • You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
  • That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains
  • When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.
  • And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.

The bottom line: There’s always a market for simplicity, focus, and good design

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

5 Responses to Customer Experience Lessons From Steve Jobs

  1. Great summary of lessons learned from Steve. I agree that simple is often much more difficult to achieve than complex when trying to solve industry/customer problems. Most leaders are afraid to say no as many times as Jobs did to achieve the success he envisioned. I read in the Times today that he is viewed by some as the quintessential risk taker – something that few CEO/leaders are willing to do today. Today’s and tomorrow’s leaders should take not and study not just what he has done, but how he has done it. His story and turnaround of Apple will be arguably viewed as one of the great success and leadership stories of our life time.

    Bravo Steve.

    Henry Bruce

  2. Its funny everyone is talking about his business accomplishments, and there are a boatload, but has anyone stopped to reflect on why he is stepping down and how he is handling this? He could have pushed and stayed on because, he is Apple. Instead his character rose to the top and he said it is better for the company to step aside. Sometimes all we see of public figures is there public moments. I don’t know him or how he acts in private. I don’t know anything other than what I see publically. But what I see is a man of character, who is not selfish and has a clear sense of himself. We should all take note.

  3. di gates says:

    excellent article – and totally agree – striving for simplicity is often the way to arrive at excellence.

  4. I agree to all replies, This is an incredible insightful collection of quotes from one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time.
    Just one remark: Job’s insights first of all lead to outstanding user experience, to best of breed products. Apple’s success is more than just the product, it includes all customer touchpoints, throughout the full sales cycle. As a result the whole experience exceeds the sum of its parts.

  5. Thanks Bruce, for providing that collection.

    Those quotes from Steve Jobs speak as much about the person Jobs is, as the customer experience he delivered.

    For those readers who’d like to hear more of Jobs, his 2005 commencement address at Stanford is simple, focused and powerful:

    Jim Watson

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