Horse Power was comparison everyone could understand.
Suddenly, Watt had put the steam engine into a language that made sense to the layman. Which is exactly what Steve Jobs did when he launched the iPod.
He didn’t compare it to to other MP3 players for speed and fidelity.
That would have been a market-share comparison.
Steve Jobs had a much bigger opportunity in mind, market-growth.
That’s why he compared the iPod to something ordinary people could understand.
He simply held it up and said “A thousand songs in your pocket.”
Because 200 years later the rules for creative communication haven’t changed. You talk to the audience in their language. Not yours.
The California Roll principle is based on the underlying rule of combining something new with something familiar to make it ‘strangely familiar’. It’s a phenomenon that psychologists like Robert B. Zejonc have labelled the ‘mere-exposure effect’ or the ‘Law of Familiarity’. Humans, understandably, have a tendency to be more comfortable around people and things they are familiar with. There is more than one way to build on this.
Apple does it though a design feature Steve Jobs called ‘skeuomorphism’. It’s a catch-all term for when design cues are taken from common objects or elements in the physical world. The iPhone calendar resembles a physical calendar. The notes app looks like a yellow legal pad. The rubbish bin on the first Mac was exactly like a metal bin. The podcast app when first launched looked like an ancient reel-to-teel tape and iBook looked like a real bookshelf with wood veneers. The familiar elements are not necessary but tap into our memory banks.
You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left, John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90 per cent of the work. And if you tell all these other people “Here’s this great idea”, then of course they can go off and make it happen. And the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product… Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together.
“Creativity is just connecting things,” Jobs told Wired Magazine. “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had a synthesise new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people… Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and the end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.”
The same approach can be used to communicate initial product value. Steve Jobs used anchoring during the launch of the Apple iPad to such effect. At one of his fames launch presentations, he introduced the “rumoured cost” that was speculated to be $999. This information anchored the press to the notion this would be the high-priced product. However, when Jobs later in the event revealed the iPad to be priced at $499, this “anchoring and reveal” tactic created a notion of value for money.
Excerpt from: Northstar