In truth, Steve Jobs was no simple man but he did embrace the concept of simplicity whole heartedly. There is no doubt a big part of the appeal of Apple’s products is their simplicity and underlying beauty. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner with the ANZ bank where former creative and adman, Ken Segall was sharing his thoughts on the eight years he spent serving the advertising needs of Apple.
It is always fascinating when an individual such as Segall can write a book (Insanely Simple) and travel the world simply because he was part of a technology phenomenon, and therefore in a position to bring a different different perspective to what has played out. And the perspective he brings is an interesting one as he focuses on one of the most defining principles embraced by Steve Jobs, and that is an obsession with simplicity.
In the ‘interests of simplicity’ here is a few of the take outs from what Segall has to say that resonated with me:
Simplicity is always original. If you start with something truly fresh and compelling, then according to Segall, applying the principles of simplicity can take you to fantastic heights. This makes infinite sense in the context that a dud idea will always remain a dud idea regardless of how you simplify it. However, I think the art of simplicity by its very expression has the ability to create something delightful original.
Some of the ways Segall suggests to achieve simplicity include:
Think Brutal — that is be brutally honest and steer away from half truths. It is a great thought given the numbers of times we simply go with the flow, rather than demanding the best outcome.
Think Small — embrace the concept of small groups and smart people. Love this thought, given the number of sessions one gets to participate in where there are participants who are simply non-contributors or in some respects do not even wish to be there.
Think Motion — be wary of the comfortable timeline. Segall suggests that too much fat in the timeline is simply inviting more opinions and the opportunity for good ideas to die on the vine.
Think Human — the simplest way to connect with a human being is to speak with a human voice. There is no doubt the best brands connect emotionally, and a brand’s voice is a key ingredient in building that bond.
All very simple really.