Saturday, 19 April 2014

7 Principles That Predict What Steve Jobs Would Do

By Marty Zwilling
Steve Jobs was one of those entrepreneurs who seemed universally either loved or hated, but not many will argue with his ability to innovate in the technology product arena over the years. He was instrumental in creating Apple, which has pioneered a dazzling array of new products, and even surpassed Microsoft, to become the world’s most valuable technology company.

Carmine Gallo, in one of his secrets books “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” outlines Jobs “insanely different principles for breakthrough success.” I'm not convinced that Jobs’ world was that simple, but Carmine has boiled it down to seven principles, which I suggest every entrepreneur can learn from, as follows:

1. Do what you love. Think differently about your career. Steve Jobs followed his heart his entire life and that, he said, made all the difference. Innovation cannot occur in the absence of passion and, without it, you have little hope of creating breakthrough ideas.

2. Put a dent in the Universe. Think differently about your vision. Jobs attracted like-minded people who shared his vision and who helped turn his ideas into world-changing innovations. Passion fuelled Apple’s rocket and Jobs’ vision created the destination.

3. Kick start your brain. Think differently about how you think. Innovation does not exist without creativity, and for Steve Jobs, creativity was the act of connecting things. Jobs believed that a broad set of experiences broadened the understanding of the human experience.

4. Sell dreams, not products. Think differently about your customers. To Jobs, people who bought Apple products were never “consumers.” They were people with dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Jobs built products to help them fulfil their dreams.

5. Say no to 1,000 things. Think differently about design. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, according to Jobs. From the designs of the iPod to the iPhone, from the packaging of the Apple’s products to the functionality of the Apple Web site, innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

6. Create insanely great experiences. Think differently about your brand experience. Jobs made Apple stores the gold standard in customer service. The Apple store has become the world’s best retailer by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to make deep, lasting emotional connections with their customers.

7. Master the message. Think differently about your story. Jobs was a great corporate storyteller, turning product launches into an art form. You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you cannot get people excited about it, it doesn't matter.

Carmine suggests and I agree that these principles for breakthrough innovation will only work if you see yourself as the brand. Whether you are an entrepreneur working out of your bedroom, or a small business owner looking for ideas to improve your business, you represent the most important brand of all – yourself.

How you talk, walk, and act reflects upon the brand. Most importantly, how you think about yourself and you business will have the greatest impact on the creation of new ideas that will grow your business and improve the lives of your customers.

Thus you need to look inward first and assess your basic potential. Then imagine what you could achieve in business with the real insight and inspiration. Imagine what you could accomplish if you had Steve Jobs guiding your decisions. What would Steve Jobs do? Follow the principles above and you can do it too.

Framing Market Cycles: Speculators,Skeptics,Suckers & Sage.

"The crowd is untruth." - Soren Kierkegaard

Two years ago, stock prices hit their lowest point of the current market cycle.  As the investor herd wonders how to make money in year three of the Bull Market, I thought it prudent to observe the herd from a distance and frame the market cycle in a different way.I like to divide the investor herd (and market cycle) into three segments -Speculators, Skeptics and Suckers:
  • Speculators jump into stocks in the late stages of a Bear market and into the early stages of the Bull market; they are the gamblers; and they are willing to accept higher relative risk to capture the largest price movements that occur later, when the Skeptics and Suckers are buying in larger numbers.
  • Skeptics wait for the Speculators to make the first move and to see real evidence of economic recovery before buying into a Bull market. Skeptics don't jump in; they move in increments; and they usually miss the biggest price movements, both up and down. Put simply, Skeptics make their money when neither fear nor greed are at peak levels.  There is also a sub-category of Skeptic, which are the Contrarians, who are skeptical to the degree that the most prudent position is the opposite of the herd.
  • Suckers will buy or sell at any point during a market cycle but tend to buy more at higher price levels and sell more at lower price levels; therefore, as a whole, Suckers are the last to join a Bull market and the last to abandon it.
These are generalizations and most investors will exhibit characteristics of all three types at various points of a market cycle.  For example, at the market cycle extremes--the highest and lowest points--many Speculators and Skeptics become Suckers.  Also, there are hybrid forms (e.g. Speculative Suckers, Skeptical Speculators, Perma-Suckers, and so on).

At the present moment, I believe the market cycle is somewhere near the mid-point, where most Speculators have made their biggest gains; at least half of the Skeptics' assets are in stocks; and the buy high/sell low Suckers have yet to jump in.  In other words, uncertainty about the near-term direction of stock prices is higher now than at the easy-to-recognize extremes: The Bull market has room to run higher but short-term corrections are inevitable; and any investor armed with five-minutes' worth of gathered information could make a believable case on either side of the Bull vs Bear market argument .
"Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for." -  Viktor Frankl
If there were to be a fourth 'S' for investor types, it would be the Sages:  These are the investors who do not predict, categorize, or apply heuristic models; they place self-knowledge and self-awareness above financial knowledge and market awareness; and they use money as a tool for life rather than following the herd's general behaviour of using life as a tool for money.

Where do you think the market cycle is today?  When do you think the current Bull market will end?  Are you a Speculator, Skeptic or Sucker (or Sage)?
Edited article from: