A fantastic read: Walter Isaacson on The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs
The bit on focus groups really caught me. Many industries and product makers obsess over the opinions of their audience and customers, and build around their desires. Give people what they want. This makes a lot of sense.
Or does it? In Jobs’ mind, this was lazy. He wanted to give people what they didn’t yet know they wanted.
“When Jobs took his original Macintosh team on its first retreat, one member asked whether they should do some market research to see what customers wanted. “No,” Jobs replied, “because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.” He invoked Henry Ford’s line “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’”
Caring deeply about what customers want is much different from continually asking them what they want; it requires intuition and instinct about desires that have not yet formed. “Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page,” Jobs explained.” link