Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Peggy Noonan Thought She Was Talking Politics

Her November 19 review of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs in the Wall Street Journal was meant to be a cautionary tale for both political parties, but in rereading it this morning it hit me that she also very succinctly explained what worries me about radio today as well.
There is an arresting moment .. in which Jobs speaks at length about his philosophy of business. He’s at the end of his life and is summing things up. His mission, he says, was plain: to “build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.” Then he turned to the rise and fall of various businesses. He has a theory about “why decline happens” at great companies: “The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesman, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues.” So salesmen are put in charge, and product engineers and designers feel demoted: Their efforts are no longer at the white-hot center of the company’s daily life. They “turn off.” IBM and Xerox, Jobs said, faltered in precisely this way. The salesmen who led the companies were smart and eloquent, but “they didn’t know anything about the product.” In the end this can doom a great company, because what consumers want is good products.

Elegantly package passion into your product, design it to delight listeners.

Once that's as perfect as you can make it, it's time to get sales involved, not before.


Anonymous said...

I'm not as smart as Jobs but I've observed this phenomenon first hand more than once, in radio and out. I'm in sales and I can see the problem. Sales people only sell products well that they believe in.

Dave Wright said...

In some situations regarding sales of any kind, The salesman is driven to push what his company wants to sell over what would work best for the client. If the client is not satisfied you have to work at fixing the issue (& relationship) later.