The following is the incident when Jobs and his team was working on laptop design.
The cover of PowerBook laptops always had a small apple with a bite taken out of the side. Consistent with their user focus, Jobs wanted the logo to look right to the owner of the computer. This was particularly important given the frequency with which laptops are opened and closed. People stuff the laptops in their backpacks or bags only to pull them out later and start working. And when you pull the laptop out it’s hard to know which way is up. Which side has the latch and so should face toward you when you set the laptop down on a desk or table?
Jobs wanted this experience to be as fluid as possible, so he used the logo as a compass. It faced the user when the computer was closed so that the user could easily orient the laptop when he set it down.
But the problem came when a person opened the laptop. Once the users had found a seat at the coffee shop and sat down with their macchiato, they would open their computer to start working. And once they opened the laptop the logo would flip. To everyone around them the logo would be upside down.
Jobs was a big believer in branding, and seeing all those upside-down logos wasn’t a great feeling. He was even worried it might be hurting the brand.So Jobs asked Ken’s (creative director) team a question. Which is more important—to have the logo look right to the customers before they opened their PowerBook, or to make it look right to the rest of the world when the laptop was in use?
As you can see the next time you glance at an Apple laptop, Ken and Jobs reversed their long-held beliefs and flipped the logo. The reason? Observability. Jobs realized that seeing others do something makes people more likely to do it themselves.
De-briefing of this Story
Jonah Berger in his book “Contagious” talks about importance of Public visibility. If it’s hard to see what others are doing, it’s hard to imitate it. If something is more visible, it will go more viral. Making something more observable makes it easier to imitate. Thus a key factor in driving products to catch on is public visibility.If something is built to show, it’s built to grow.
Showing-off is a good thing can be used to share importance of
- Creative thinking
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From the book “Contagious, Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berge.
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