Whether creating a $100M fighter jet, the latest web technology, or the next flavor of ‘YourTown’ Cupcakes – the endless loop of listening to customers and the marketplace vs. envisioning the possibilities that people haven’t thought of yet seems to mire so many projects and organizations.
Steve believed he knew best – and so far history shows that he was right. Many people would argue that the business models that sprang from his innovations were not always what consumers would prefer – but, if it was about elegance, ease of use, viral sharing, and just plain ‘cool’ – Jobs (across the 6 industries he is credited with altering, creating or turning upside down) was spot on.
We need to provide leadership to our customers, and while we need to listen carefully, too, we can’t let the listening stop us from making decisions and moving forward. I think that Jobs had a few anchor principles that didn’t change – find those for your industry, your project – and think a little bit more like Steve.