Andrew Chen – Does Every Startup Need a Steve Jobs?

Scott Francis
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Andrew Chen asks this question in his blog.  Its a good read from several perspectives, but I’ll just pull out the couple of bits that people developing processes should be thinking over well and good (I like to read the work of thought leaders outside the BPM space to see how their ideas might apply to BPM):
Back to Steve Jobs – what does he really do? Long story short, my hypothesis is that Steve Jobs is one of the rare CEOs who is very focused on product desirability. In battles with the business and technology goals, desirability will almost always win out.
And what is “product desirability”?  It sounds like understanding the “voice of the customer” to me (but broader than typical six sigma definition of that term).  Having an understanding of what will matter to your customers is a key driver for success for your processes.  The definition of customers is a bit vague :  users, primarily, but also people impacted by the process (often, your end-customers)…
  • What makes your process desirable to your customers?
  • What makes your process desirable to your internal users?
  • Who is responsible for representing desirability of the process?
Andrew goes on to define what he surmises are Steve Jobs’ duties:
So his role isn’t that of a designer, but rather Chief Design Advocate. This means:
  • he makes it clear that products should be “insanely great”
  • he recruits a top design team, and protects them from competing goals
  • he is willing to spend money, adjust technology processes, all for the goal of highly desirable products
  • he convinces financial analysts, industry pundits, etc. that product design is very important
As Andrew says – is there any reason that any company can’t be doing this?  Or that you can’t be doing this for your processes?  Making sure the processes are great, that you have recruited a top BPM team that is focused on making the processes valuable to your customers?  Spending money, adjusting technology, to support highly desirable products?  Convince the folks that hold the purse strings that processes and process design are important… Very few companies do this… It could be the differentiator for yours.  And there’s no reason you can’t do it.