Heavy Metal Keynotes.
It’s the great legacy of Steve Jobs. The Apple Keynote. A huge globally spectated event. The stock market, the tech industry, the press, the advertising industry & phone users across the globe tune in to find out what the next new gadget will be & what new features they possess.
However, this year it didn’t all go to plan. A big deal has been made from one small detail of the latest Apple Keynote. In the grand scheme, it’s insignificant. Most people probably didn’t even notice, yet the press have made a huge palaver out of the so-called ‘Face ID’ fail. All with the narrative that this wouldn’t have happened if Steve Jobs were alive.
Jobs was a notorious perfectionist. Even the simple choice of which washing machine to get could take hours of discussion according to Malcolm Gladwell.
“European washing machines,[Steve] Jobs discovered, used less detergent and less water than their American counterparts, and were easier on the clothes. But they took twice as long to complete a washing cycle. What should the family do? As Jobs explained, “We spent some time in our family talking about what’s the trade-off we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half? Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? Did we care about using a quarter of the water? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table.” — Malcolm Gladwell, in the New Yorker
People love to bring this part of the late founder’s personality up, usually as a way to criticize the current leadership. The tech world’s equivalent of the way Lady Diana’s memory is used by the Daily Mail.
However, there is another icon that Apple employees could learn from.
Van Halen’s infamous rider including “a bowl of M&Ms (WARNING absolutely no brown ones)”
What became an infamously long & ridiculous rider was actually a very careful plan for a complex stage that David Lee Roth & crew used to carry around increasingly outdated arenas in the US. The brown M&Ms were a clue that not every detail had been considered. A simple & effective alarm bell that saved several failures of shows.
Perhaps if Apple had applied the same thinking to their keynote, things would’ve run slightly smoother.
Here is a video of David explaining his meticulously requested confectionery.