I’ve been using Steve Jobs and Apple as examples in my software blog dedicated to the creation of Great Software. Although Steve Jobs is thought of as being the Mac/iPhone/iPad/iPod guy, he’s also a software hero. At least he’s one of my software heroes.
Steve Jobs’ Apple doesn’t just build products. They understand the market and the consumers better than anyone else. And then they create something that defines and totally owns that market. Their deep understanding of the needs, wants and priorities of the consumer and their “make no compromises” approach allows them to do this.
When Apple launched the iPad, they didn’t create a product that was a strong competitor or even “the leader” in the “tablet pc” market. They created an iPad market that they alone totally owned. In doing so, they dropped a nuclear bomb and largely obliterated the “tablet pc” market. If you don’t believe me, go ask HP what they think, and ask them why they wrote off a couple hundred million in Touchpads, which might just signal the doom of their $1.2B investment in WebOS as well. What was wrong with the Touchpad? It was a fine product, it simply “wasn’t an iPad”. The power of not just leading a category, but defining it and owning it.
Almost every software company has it backwards, and could learn from Steve Jobs. The software market is full of technology looking for some consumer to accidentally stumble on to it. Products are created without truly understanding the consumers. There is so much Kool-Aid being consumed at software companies that I’m surprised Kraft Foods doesn’t feature “Software” as one of their key verticals on their homepage.