This post is a little different from my usual stuff. I hope you find it useful.
One of the keys to business success is to be memorable (for all the right reasons). The following brief story shows the difference between making a big, but instantly forgettable impact and making a big impact that’s remembered for years to come.
Steve Jobs and a heated email exchange
A few years before Steve Jobs died, a journalist published a private email exchange he’d had with the legendary Apple CEO. Jobs was a passionate man. And the exchange got a little heated, as the journalist intentionally tried to get Jobs angry. This was dynamite for the journalist, who spotted an opportunity to get noticed, on the back of Jobs’ fame.
As I started writing this, I was unable to recall who the journalist was. I did recall covering the story a little while after the event, so I checked that blog post, and even at the time of writing that post, I wasn’t able to remember his name.
However, even today the core story is fresh in my mind.
- I remember the journalist’s tactics, in goading Jobs for click-worthy comments.
- I remember Steve Jobs’ passion, as he responded in person to the string of emails.
- I even remember Jobs asking the journalist something along the lines of, “Have you ever created anything yourself… or do you just criticise those with the courage to create?”.
- But I’d totally forgotten who the journalist was and what publication he represented.
We soon forget those people and companies that grab our attention with PR stunts. That’s because stunts and tricks attract drive-by interest: People look quickly at the hoopla, but it lacks connection / meaning, so they just ‘drive by’.
What we DO remember are those rare people and brands, that are willing to make a difference. Those brave people in business (and every area of life), who have the courage to do something useful and meaningfully different. We remember them and connect with them because we value their contribution. And it serves us well to learn from them.