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Simplicity a la Jobs

Every medium, every channel is awash with tributes to Steve Jobs.

Today I read someone comparing him to Edison and Einstein. Come to think of it, that is probably true, given the impact he’s had on our lives.

While I, and nearly any one can talk for hours or even days on the great things he did, I want to talk about a single thing.

Product nomenclature.

I want to buy a laptop.

I visit HP.com and select laptops as my choice.

I have to choose between mini, everyday computing, etc.

Having chosen ‘everyday computing’ here are my options

HP 2000z series

HP 2000t series

HP Pavillion g6x series

HP Pavillion g4t series

HP Pavillion g7t series

HP Pavillion g6s series

None of the numbers are of any help in deciding if a model is better than the other.

The numbers differentiate but don’t grade.

Besides there is no real logic apparent to the user.

Why are some Pavillion and some not.

The numbering looks like it was done on an engineering drawing somewhere, passed along to the shop floor and it just stayed with the brand for ever after that.

Actually HP is probably done a good job of it.

Have you tried buying a Nokia phone?

Their numbering makes no sense and till recently was not even visible on the phone.

Nokia n91 was launched in 2005. N8 in 2010.

Does that make any sense? Who spends time thinking of these brand names.

I’d like to believe that like for most normal folks 91 follows 8, so N8 should have preceded the N91 by many years.

To make matters interesting E6 came after the N8.

So if you walk into a store you have no way of knowing which is the ‘latest’ model.

In many cases I understand that when a brand is catering to multiple segments they need to have multiple sub brands.

That is exactly what BMW has. They have the 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 series which kind of makes sense. I wonder what they have against 2 and 4 though. Also 6 came before 7. Not as clean as it could be but some structure is visible and followed.

Now switch to Apple.

You want a laptop?

No problem Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air. The names tell you everything about what you can expect. Even the most un-genius person can figure out the hierarchy.

You want a phone ? Would you like the iPhone 3G, or the iPhone 3GS, or the iPhone 4G or the iPhone 4GS. Any confusion?

There is no doubt that Steve Jobs was a genius and he had fantastic team that created these products.

But he also got the basics right.

While the product is created in the factory, the brand is created in the mind of the consumer.

Make it easy for her to grasp, assimilate, understand and own it. And that doesn’t require genius.

I respect HP, some very good friends of mine work there.

I respect Nokia..have been a loyal customer from my first phone.

There are millions of people like me around.

But Apple evokes the passion, coz it made great products and even stronger brands, because finally it was about doing great things, simply.

 

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  1. October 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Well put! Simple is memorable.

  2. October 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    You said it Harish!

    • HARISH VASUDEVAN
      October 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Thanks SG.

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