The marketing executive Ken Segall not only worked closely with Steve Jobs for years at both Apple and NeXT, but he was also the creative guy who came up with the iMac name. And he’s just written a book about the product marketing lessons he learned from Jobs – an instant best-seller called Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success.
So what, exactly, defines “Insane Simplicity”? I asked Segall when he came into our New York studio. His answer will please Apple fanboys as much as it will irritate the Android crowd. It’s all about having the corporate processes in place to eliminate clutter, Segall explained to me. “There are zero committees at Apple,” Jobs liked to boast. And it’s this absence of corporate bureaucracy, Segall suggests, that distinguishes Apple from other technology companies like, perhaps, Google.
So is Segall right – can simplicity be legislated by the absence of corporate structures? Or is insane simplicity, in truth, the result of an insanely obsessive CEO like Steve Jobs who never settled for anything less than perfection?