The superior Apple experience

My girlfriend and I have decided to build a new home for ourselves and our two daughters.

The other day we got a VR model of our new home from the developer. Besides it being a very strange feeling to take the first virtual steps in our new home, it also cemented a great point about Apple as a tech ecosystem versus anybody else.

At work I used our Airtame in one of the meeting rooms to project the VR model from my phone to the big screen. It could be done, but the experience of moving around had quite a lot of latency, so I quickly gave up on it.

At home in the evening, I projected the same model to our TV using our Apple TV. And the experience was just fluid and flawless, and we could really enjoy walking around our new home on the big screen rather than on the small iPhone screen.

The Apple tech ecosystem just worked. Flawlessly.

I think there is a larger point here:

Apple is not only about great products and services in itself. It is about being better together. It is about creating a premium experience that is designed to – at every twist and turn – reinforce the feeling that you made the right decision when you chose to engulf yourself into the Apple ecosystem.

And continuously pay a premium for the privilege of doing so.

For me that is the real beauty about Apple and it’s business model that makes it stand out above and beyond the rest out there. It is incredibly powerful.

But – and here is the word of warning – it is also hard to be truly inspired by. Because there is only one Apple. And there will (most likely) continue to be only one Apple.

And no, you or your company will never be like Apple. You need to know that and be at peace with that.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fully enjoy and get inspired by the Apple experience.

Via Product Coalition


The essential Clubhouse question

Why didn’t you build it?

Audio online is nothing new.

Talks with subject matter experts is nothing new.

Social networking is nothing new.

Refer-a-friend schemes are nothing new.

And so on.

All the elements are already out there and have been so for a long time.

So why didn’t you come up with this idea, build it and reap the rewards?

That’s the really interesting 1B USD question about Clubhouse.

(Photo: Screenshot)

Jumpstart your insights

When we try to figure out what the jobs, pains and gains of our future customers are, it is tempting to do all the research from scratch.

But maybe you don’t have to. Maybe there are forums where you can get a pretty good feeling, before you spend a lot of time doing surveys, interviews and observe the behaviour of your customers.

One place to look is in competing products. Especially the ones that seem to do rather well.

Get your hands on them, try them out and reverse engineer the problem statements that lies behind the form and feature(s) of the product.

What is the core feature of the product? Does it cater to a specific target audience? Which? And why? And what is the core assumption behind how it’s done?

If you spend a bit of time reverse engineering the competition for jobs, pains and gains, you will probably get a pretty good idea about what the real jobs are that determines whether a customer buys and uses said product or not.

And then it becomes a question of your future product doing it better, cheaper or whatever. But preferably better since that will serve you well, when you start to focus on retention.

After all you shouldn’t make it as easy for another competitor to snatch away your customers from you, as it (perhaps) was for you, should you?

Another place where you can look for insights into the jobs, pains and gains of your future customers is social media. I know for a fact it can be a pure gold mine for insights into what needs, your product could serve.

The great thing about social media – and especially more niche oriented groups – is that people are unfiltered. They will be looking for advice and guidance, and the more they look for it, the bigger a felt need it is for them.

That is not to say that you should do everything, a community tells you to do. Of course you shouldn’t, and often the conversation ventures in a lot of different directions.

But if you take the time to look for signals – tone of voice, mentions of a specific problem again and again etc. – there is actually a ton of things, you can take away with you.

That should set you off to a good start before you start doing a lot of classic user and market research too.


Learn from Poor Charlie

Every once in a while I look to recommend a great book, if you’re looking to expand your horizon a bit.

This is such a time. But the book isn’t new. Far from it. I have had it for more than 10 years, but I have only gotten around to reading it now.

The book in question is “Poor Charlie’s Almanack”, a whopping coffee table book about legendary investor Warren Buffets sidekick and second-in-command, Charlie Munger, at Berkshire Hathaway.

In the book he spills the beans on his wisdom. And let me say it straight away: Much of it is common sense. But still you have got to give the man credit that when you live and act by a core belief system of common sense, you can do rather well for yourself.

Furthermore there is an incredible wit about Charlie, who turned 97 as we moved into 2021. While Warren Buffett has always been the one in the spotlight, Charlies wry comments and crystal clear ways of calling them like he sees them is amazing.

For that reason I highly recommend you look up Berkshire Hathaway AGM’s on YouTube and feast yourself in the two investors asking questions from their audience of shareholders. It’s priceless.

But Charlie Munger is also the story about something else that I personally hold very dear; the (wo)man behind the (wo)man.

While aspirational leaders and entrepreneurs have always fascinated me, I have tended to be more fascinated by their enablers; those who actually get the wheels into motion, do the nitty gritty stuff, aka work the engine room so the captain can be on the bridge setting the course.

I have a great personal liking for those. Most probably because it fits my own comfort zone best; being the one a step being doing the heavy lifting, making things gel and gently apply my contribution to things.

One thing is for sure: Charlie Munger has been exceptionally great at doing precisely that. And few people are more deserving of a coffee table-sized book than him.


The ‘naked’ online presence

More than 10 years ago when I was dating, I made it a habit to always Google my date ahead of our first meeting in person. Given what I was doing on an everyday basis at work it just felt natural to try to get a bit of insight beforehand and satisfy part of my curiosity.

It was fun.

Until they started doing the same with me.

Then all of a sudden I learned what it actually means to be visible online and to never have shied away from putting your ideas and comments out there in this vast digital space.

Because there were a ton of things you could find out back then with very little effort. And there’s exponentially more today.

Which to some extend makes it such an intriguing opportunity to organize.

I was reminded about this when I encountered SpoonBill; a service that allows you to get insights on the updates, your Twitter contacts have been making to fx their bio over the years.

Digging into those is a fascinating thing, and if you allow yourself a bit of time to do it, it is actually quite revealing about peoples personalities.

Some may call this snooping, and to some extend it is. But it’s still information people have put out there themselves. Actively. It is there own words. How they like to see themselves at any given moment in time. It is not something that is collected behind the scenes.

The ability to get an overview of how people change their self-image or perhaps even identity over time is a perfect complement to the long-seen practice of trying to perfect the image, you convey using various social media platforms.

And Twitter is a great tool to start the forensic analysis with given that it is a platform where professional and personal interests collide in one big hodge-podge of things.

For that reason I also think that SpoonBill is at the aventgarde of a plethora of tools and services, we’re going to see going forward that tried to address the same issue; getting a sense of who people really are behind the smoke and mirrors of SoMe and personal branding.

Getting behind the scenes and to the core of people is a fundamental human need on which all kinds of trust and enduring relationships are built.

Thus, my best guess is that getting this right is going to be a huge business opportunity for those, who want to engage.


In da (Club)house

Until yesterday I hadn’t been ‘fortunate’ enough to be invited to Clubhouse yet. But until the invite came, I could see some people complaining that there isn’t a ‘Listen later’ feature in the product, and how odd it is.

Actually, I think it’s borderline brilliant.

One of the big challenges of everything digital is that we have lost the need to be present when something happens.

We can always catch up later.

Few of us actually make an effort to do that, but we’re all guilty of not really being present in the moment for that reason alone – that we can always catch up later.

I think that is a big issue. On an almost existential level.

For that reason I love the idea of a service where you need to be there, when it happens – or miss out completely. I love the idea of forcing people to prioritize to be present to get something for themselves.

I think we need that. As humans. To be forced to stop, take pause, listen and engage. Live. And then go about our other business.

If Clubhouse can help a move towards that scenario, I am all for it.


Find your ambassadors

When trying to build a powerful startup team from scratch, I have found there is one trait it’s hugely important to have in every co-founder;


With that I mean a person who will take the torch, carry it everywhere and be an unconditional spokesperson for what your team is setting out to accomplish.

The key advantage of having ambassadors all around you is that you will not be left to do all the preaching. While it is energizing in the very beginning, you can quickly both become tired of preaching, and at the same time you can get concerned as to why it is that you seem to be the only one doing so.

With ambassadors all around you, you’re spreading the message. As a team. That’s super important.

But how then do you figure out when you don’t have the right ambassadors around you? Well, that’s tricky. Because the most honest answer probably is when your startup hits a really rough patch.

If you don’t have the right ambassadors, the team is going to crack under the stress, worst case disintegrate completely. That’s when you realize than in essence you may have been the only one holding everything together (also even if you might have thought otherwise).

If you do have the right ambassadors, they will be looking for solutions to your woes. Perhaps even above and beyond what seems doable or logic. Because they want what you have set out to achieve so bad, they are willing to do whatever to keep the dream alive.

I realize those are pretty stark contrast. But in reality I also think it reflects just how important having ambassadors around you is.

At the end it can be make or break for your team and your startup.


Passion versus perspective

When you’re passionate about something, it is very easy to let passion get the better of you and lose the grander perspective on things.

That’s the trouble with passion; it has a capacity to leave you blind-sighted during the very times when you need perspective the most. You focus too much on the here and now rather on what could come next.

But on the other hand passion is also a huge source of energy.

Not only when things go well, and you feel like you can just keep on going because you’re on a quest.

But also when things are falling off the rails, because that’s when you use the energy of your passion to grind your teeth, keep on going and figure out what to do next.

But it still takes an ability to keep your eyes and – most especially – your mind open to the perspective.