“He said, ‘My name’s the teacher, that is what I call myself,
And I have a lesson that I must impart to you,
It’s an old expression, but I must insist it’s true.”
- Jethro Tull
While Apple CEO Steve Jobs has rarely been known for openness and accessibility, this story in Wired proves that not only can old dogs learn new tricks, they sometimes can set the pace for other dogs in the neighborhood
Over the past few months, Jobs — who is notorious for being tight-lipped and rarely responding to media calls — has decided to reach out and touch someone. Or, to be more accurate, reach out and touch someones who are special.
Breaking with his monk-like tradition of letting others do the talking, Jobs has been sending personal e-mails to customers, reporters and others in a “return” to one-to-one communication from the top. As helpful as mass-distribution channels such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs can be in getting the word out, Jobs knows that the most effective communication is based on one-to-one communication, even when that communication is pounded out on the keyboard of a MacBook Pro (we’re assuming here, of course, that Jobs is not typing his messages on a ThinkPad . . .).
What’s the lesson here? Simple. Jobs is relying here on one of the most fundamental tenets of Marketing 101: identify and connect with key opinion leaders who can help carry your message — credibly — to the masses. Just as Everett Rogers wrote some 50 years ago in his seminal book, The Diffusion of Innovation, the strategic use of thought leaders to spread your message can not only speed up the process by which an innovation (like an iPad) is adopted, it can often help reshape your reputation and build a powerful network of influencers upon which you can rely in the future.
Perhaps this new-found openness on Jobs’ part was tied solely to the launch of his newest baby, the iPad. Or maybe not. Maybe he’s found religion in the wake of his health struggles over the past few years. Either way, Jobs is once again leading the pack and demonstrating that the best CEOs remember that their success — and the success of their companies — begins and ends with individuals who are treated as such.
- The Role of Follwers in the Diffusion of Innovations (techpudding.com)