You know why Steve Jobs could sell us anything? Because he didn’t care what we wanted.
OK, so that’s not exactly true. Steve Jobs realized we didn’t know what we wanted, and rather than ask us what appealed to us, he told us what it was.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Jobs could figure it out, and correctly.
When I was writing my short ode to Steve Jobs yesterday I left out something that felt Jobs-esque enough to talk about but didn’t feel like it belonged in that piece. Once when asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want“.
I left that quote out of yesterday’s piece because despite how correct Jobs might have been, the words sound more arrogant than I was shooting for at the time. But then I was reminded of the quote this morning when I came across this piece at Harvard Business Review. As the authors ask in their dissertation on the changing face of sales, what if customers’ single greatest need, ironically, is to figure out exactly what they need?
Steve Jobs understood this better than anyone. No, not something snarky, like “people are sheep; you can lead them anywhere“; Steve Jobs GOT that a lot of times people will buy what they’re told to buy, as long as the salesman knows what they want.
Or, as I said once before, I Don’t Care What You Think. It not unreasonable, it’s business change.