Set aside a bunch of time and read this.
Set aside a bunch of time and read this.
A Charlie Rose interview with Jony Ive and Marc Newson aired last night. The occasion is the Sotheby’s auction of 44 objects which Ive and Newsome created to benefit Bono’s Project Red AIDS research and treatment charity.
The interview was interesting for many reasons but there was one bit that caught my attention the most. Rose was describing watching a renowned artist intently staring at a painting in a museum. When Rose approached him to ask what he was looking at, the artist said, “How did he do that? How did he create that brushstroke? That color?”
Ive then said the following regarding creators like the one Rose observed:
I think one of the things you get a sense of is the degree of care. This group of people care to get it right; and they don’t do it for themselves, they do it in service to the people who are going to use or buy their product.
I think there’s something…the humanity of that…that’s extraordinary.
Like Marc said, how something’s finished on the inside—you could argue that you’ll never see that—I think we believe (it’s very difficult to explain why) but I think that part of the human condition is that we sense care.
Sometimes it’s easier to realize you sense carelessness. And I mean, look around, our manufactured environment—so much of it—testifies to a complete lack of care. Which isn’t…that’s not about your attitude towards an object…it’s about your attitude to each other.
And so, I think that sort of commitment and passion becomes a fanaticism of this weird caring to get something right, whether you can see it or not. But we do that.
The only way to make something great is to care to an extraordinary level.
One of the things we feel strongly about at Apple is that commitment to care—to try to make the very best product we can.
"Care" is something I’ve focused on for many years. Initially, my interest grew from my graduate school study of Martin Heidegger’s work. As I became involved in helping leaders create design and customer service cultures, it was clear to me that caring was the key to connecting people with objects and one another.
As Ive said, care is a way of being—an approach to creating objects, experiences and situations—a “service” to the people for whom they are being created—that we humans can actually sense. Perhaps we do not do so consciously, but but we sense it nonetheless. And we certainly sense its absence instantly.
Care is the key element which distinguishes the extraordinary from the ordinary.
So it’s unsurprising to hear the master designer Ive describe his work in terms of the level of care that distinguishes it from that of others who design objects that simply mean less to the people who both create and acquire them.
While heroic cults of personality have grown around Steve Jobs and, more recently, Jony Ive, I believe the culture of extraordinary care that these two leaders have created will ultimately prove to be the most enduring dimension of their legacy.
Coke or Pepsi?
Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?
Android or Apple?
Ask anyone their preferences for products like these and you’re very likely to get an immediate, emphatic response.
Coke. Starbucks. Apple.
Then ask that same person another question: Why?
Why do I prefer Coke, Starbucks and Apple?
As a psychologist, this is where things get interesting.
Psychological research conducted over the last century, and particularly in the last decade, has shown that these two questions (Which do you prefer? Why?) are answered by two different parts of our selves…and our brains.
When you ask me which of two products I prefer, the answer instantly leaps to mind. It’s as hard to keep it from happening as it is to not answer, “how much is 2 + 2?”
But when you ask me why I prefer one over the other, I have to pause and “think it over.”
These two parts of my mind…the part that can’t help saying “Coke” and the part that explains “it’s not as sweet”…have been the object of intense study by psychologists. Various researchers have labeled the two parts “automatic/controlled,” “implicit/explicit,” “conscious/nonconscious,” “spontaneous/deliberative,” and “System 1/System 2.”
The last pair was created by Daniel Kahneman in work that eventually won him the only Nobel Prize ever awarded to a psychologist. (It was technically in the category of Economics, but, as Kahneman pointed out in his acceptance speech, he’s never even taken a class in economics!)
And while most researchers today shy away from one more descriptive pair to characterize these two sets of functions, asking the Android or Apple question today makes one more label hard to avoid: “emotional/logical.”
For much of the 20th century, economists (and marketers) talked about consumer choice as a logical process. The consumer was thought to evaluate market offerings to determine the set of features and benefits that most closely met her/his needs and rationally weighed them against the various price points. Decisions were, basically, equations.
But as anyone who’s watched proponents of the two dominant mobile operating systems “debate” the relative benefits of their personal preference can attest, this decision seems to be a lot more complicated than that.
From a features/benefits standpoint, the vehemence of Android or Apple battles (the term’s not too strong, in my experience) doesn’t make a lot of sense: the two systems are remarkably similar in most of what they enable their users to do.
No, that much energy probably comes from elsewhere.
Which is exactly what the history of the “Pepsi Challenge” shows us.
The Challenge was simple. In 1975, Pepsi set up tables in malls across America. Hiding the products behind screens, they asked passersby to taste Pepsi and Coke and to say which one they preferred. In these “blind” taste tests, over 50% of people preferred Pepsi. Their marketers were overjoyed!
The Challenge results eventually led Coca-Cola to make one of the monumental marketing decisions of the 20th century: releasing New Coke and discontinuing the original.
Here’s how snopes.com describes the events:
“New Coke was introduced on 23 April 1985, and production of the original formulation ended that same week. The outrage of millions of Americans didn’t take long to sink in, and not all that much longer to be redressed. At an 11 July 1985 press conference, two Coca-Cola executives announced the return of the original formula. “We have heard you,” said Roberto Goizueta, then Chairman of Coca-Cola. Donald Keough (then the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer) said:”
There is a twist to this story which will please every humanist and will probably keep Harvard professors puzzled for years. The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people …
The passion for original Coca-Cola — and that is the word for it, passion — was something that caught us by surprise … It is a wonderful American mystery, a lovely American enigma, and you cannot measure it any more than you can measure love, pride, or patriotism. http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/newcoke.asp#3xPXBXSIEOl3qBGb.99
But it turns out Keough was mistaken: you can measure the passion consumers have for original Coca-Cola. Psychologist Read Montague proved that in a series of 2004 experiments.
Using a variety of clever experimental methods, Montague found that different areas of the brain are activated when people blindly taste Pepsi or Coke than when they are told that they are tasting Pepsi or Coke. Not only that, subjects’ brains reacted differently to the same cola when told that it was either Pepsi or Coke.
Think about that: not only did telling subjects they were tasting Coke or Pepsi effect which one they said they preferred, but the subjective preference for one or the other beverage actually effects the brain’s reaction to the same sample.
It’s not an overstatement to say that brand names shape perceptions; that brands actually create a new reality.
Hugh MacLeod, @gapingvoid, captures this relationship between brand and brain in this cartoon.
The vehemence of the reactions of Apple and Android “fanboys” (the term itself captures the emotionality of the attachment) has more to do with the meaning of these branded objects than it does with pixels per inch, megahertz clockings and storage capacity.
So, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a “discussion” of the relative merits of the Apple 5S and the Nexus 5, be sure to stop for a minute and remind yourself that Android or Apple: it’s all in your head.
500 posts on Tumblr! Wow…
Men overvalue their own individual competence and undervalue that of others.
Women demonstrated less confidence about their own abilities, the researchers said, and more confidence in their potential partners’ abilities. They were also much more sensitive to increasing their potential partner’s incomes, reinforcing a well-established idea that women demonstrate more “inequity aversion” than men. That is, they’re less comfortable with their colleagues making dramatically different salaries.
These are huge factors when developing and leading business cultures.
Excellent article on superstition and other forms of magical thinking.
Who needs Khan Academy? Just watch The Simpsons and Futurama.
What’s the most popular car color?
Once again, white was the most popular color for new car and truck buyers, according to PPG Industries. Black and silver tied for second this year at 18%. There was one part of the world that broke with white: South America where silver was the most popular hue. For more, go to TheDetroitBureau.com.
1935 LaSalle http://ift.tt/18wplGC
Big Amos! http://ift.tt/15REmBW