I was listening to an interview with Peter Sims on Think, hosted by Krys Boyd. (You can listen to the interview here). Sims is the author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries. The discussion moved into a conversation about the brilliance of Steve Jobs. Specifically, just how does Apple decide to go forward with a specific design? Is it a group decision, based on extensive market research, focus groups, testing in the marketplace? Not quite: Here’s what he said:
It’s “The Steve Jobs factor…The person who makes those decisions …is Jobs. He’s the market – not users. He’s the market of one, in the case of Apple…”
It reminded me of that brilliant scene about another market of one. This time the brilliant decision maker is the fictional Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. I could not find a clip of the scene, but here are the words from the script:
There’s a scale. One nod is good. Two nods is very good.
There’s only been one actual smile on record, and that was Tom Ford in 2001.
She doesn’t like it, she shakes her head.
Then, of course, there’s the pursing of the lips.
So because she pursed her lips, he’s gonna change his entire collection?
You still don’t get it, do you?
Her opinion is the only one that matters.
And here is the business takeaway.
Well, there may not actually be a business take-away.
For most of us mere mortals, we are not smart enough to know just what the market wants. But, there are a handful of absolute geniuses; geniuses who seem to know exactly what people want. So, maybe the takeaway is this… Identify those geniuses, listen to them, watch them, pay very close attention — and then, go and do likewise.
You can read a review of Little Bets by Sims, written by Bob Morris, here.