Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success

Carmine Gallo, McGraw-Hill, 2011


Since Steve Jobs is one of the most innovative Imagineers of modern times it is obviously worthwhile to try to understand his approach to invention.  One positive side of this is that his innovation methods are not really insanely different but rather are fairly simple and central to the field of innovation methods.  It is Steve Jobs who was insanely different.  Gallo discusses seven key principles in Jobs’ approach to invention.  You can get this book for about one dollar plus 3 dollars shipping.

  1. Do What You Love

Steve dropped out of college because he could not see the value of it.  But he grew up in Silicon Valley with a great interest in electronic design.  That area in effect became his substitute for college.  He had a great passion for electronic design, and that became his life’s work.  You are much more likely to be successful when you do what you love.

  1. Put a Dent in the Universe

Steve Jobs was not the initial inventor of any of his early innovations.  But he was very good at seeing over the horizon and evaluating what the long term impact of a given innovation might be.  He concentrated on those innovations that were likely to have the most serious impact.

  1. Kick-Start Your Brain

Creativity is primarily connecting things.  When you ask creative people how they did something they feel a little guilty because they really didn’t do it: they just saw something.  That’s because they were able to connect various experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.  You need to have a diversity of experiences to maximize your creativity.

  1. Sell Dreams, Not Products

The dreams talked about here are the dreams of your customers.  Your purpose needs to be to make their lives better, not just to sell them products.  Listen to your customers, but even more important know your customers.

  1. Say No to 1,000 Things

According to Steve Jobs, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  He said “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do”.  Focus on keeping the innovation simple and elegant, and avoid it being cluttered and confusing.  Try to put the majority of your effort on projects that advance your core purpose and fulfill your passion.

  1. Create Insanely Great Experiences

Look outside your industry for ideas on how to stand out from your competition.  Hire with cultural fit in mind, and train everyone to be an expert in that “culture”.  Have fun.  Passion is contagious.  If your employ-ees aren’t having fun, your customers won’t be either.  That sure seems like a good idea.

  1. Master the Message

Tell your story early and often.  Make communication a cornerstone of your brand every day.  Make your brand story consistent across all aspects of your program.  Think differently about your presentation style.  Study Steve Jobs, read design books, and pay attention to awe-inspiring presentations and what makes them different from average.  Rising to the challenge requires a dedicated commitment to improvement and an open mind.


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