It wasn’t the iPhone that was Steve Jobs’ brilliance.

We all have those things we hear that drive us up the wall, “If you say jump. I will ask how high?”, “The first time since” and “Steve Jobs’ brilliance was the iPhone” are a few of mine. I am going to explain why we should stop saying these things and I hope at the end of this article we will all be better people.

“If you say jump. I will ask how high?”

This phrase is used by someone to show their loyalty to a person. But the phrase is broken. “I will ask how high?” shows decent to the person who says it. By asking how high means you need clarification in the request.

What the person should say is, “If you say jump, I will NOT ask how high. I will just jump.” That is loyalty. That means you aren’t just loyal, but act on it without question.

“The first time since.”

You will hear this phrase all the time in the world of sports, it needs to stop. First, by definition, means “coming before all others in time or order; earliest.” By adding the conditional statement “time sense” implies that the event had already happen, suggesting this moment is at minimum the second time the event happened.

Two quick examples: “Cubs win World Series for first time since 1908.” While the Cub’s winning was an amazing accomplishment, it happened before and thus ‘First’ should not be used. This is the first time since I write and article since a month ago when I wrote this one, $9000 to play this game. My phrase is true. I did write this article, but it isn’t he first article I have ever written.

“Steve Jobs’ brilliance was the iPhone.”

Equal to the first two points and the reason you are really here is that Steve Jobs’ brilliance was NOT and I repeat not the iPhone. Most people report what made the iPhone so popular was its ability to connect to the internet, play music, be a market place for apps and could call people. All of that was wrapped up in a decent user interface. If these features were all that were needed to make something popular, Nokia would own the smart phone market. They had all the features the iPhone did, but there was something critical that the platform was missing.

I have spent the last few years consulting start-up companies and businesses in gamification and user behavior. There is a universal truth you must understand to see why the iPhone wasn’t the brilliance of Steve Jobs.

Games sell consoles. Consoles do not sell games.

Above are pictures of the popular game Mortal Kombat. The image on the left shows a bloody version and on the right is a non-bloody version. So which console are you going to buy? Note the questions wasn’t what game would you buy. If you wanted the bloody experience, you bought the Sega Genesis. If you were a parent of the 90s and hated the idea of bloody violent games, then you bought your kids a Super Nintendo.

There are many examples demonstrating where a game sells the console, Nintendo Wii, Dream Cast and PC . We need to now understand that the console in our example is a platform or phone and the game is the software that can be used by the device or platform.

So the question is what was Steve Jobs’ brilliance if it wasn’t the iPhone? What was his game? iTunes! Take yourself back to the early 2000s. At this time Napster and other software pirating software programs were hugely popular. People had thousands of songs. MP3 players were making a name for themselves. Steve Jobs recognized a need in the market. He made the process of getting a song easy and cheap. The integration from iTunes to the iPod was relatively seamless and songs cost $1. iTunes also worked on Apple and PC computers.

Most people were using iTunes with an iPod AND carried some type of phone. It sucked carrying two things, so it made since to combine them. Steve Jobs knew this and made a phone that could also use apps (games). So by making the iPhone capable of using iTunes he effectively built a console with one of the best games on the market.

This is why the iPhone struggles now. It doesn’t have a game that makes it the best platform. Samsung on the other hand is actively test “games”, like VR capability. So it wasn’t the iPhone that was Steve Jobs brilliance, it was developing iTunes, which intern sold the iPhone.

I would love to know what phrases you hate that people use, because they are technically incorrect.