Saturday, June 6, 2009

Deconstructing the curiosity flow from Steve Jobs iPod launch presentation

How does a master presenter like Steve Jobs apply “curiosity before content” principle we saw in an earlier article while launching new products? Let’s try to get a feel in this article from his iPod launch presentation in 2001.

Principle of curiosity before content tells us that a good presenter creates curiosity before talking about her idea. In fact, Dan and Chip Heath in their article How to avoid making a bad presentation go a step further and say: The best presenters don’t structure their presentations by thinking, What’s the next point I should make. Instead, they decide, What’s next question I want them to wrestle with? Let’s calls this sequence of questions: curiosity flow.

Here is the curiosity flow Steve Jobs uses in iPod launch presentation followed by his explanation:

1. Why music? Music has been around forever and it will always be around. It is a very large target market all around the world. Interestingly, there is no market leader. No one has really found the recipe in the digital music space.

2. What is iPod? iPod is an MP3 music player, has CD quality music, and it plays all of the popular open formats of the digital music world. It holds 1000 songs, your entire music library and it fits in your pocket.

3. It is ultra-portable (1000 songs fit in your pocket). How do we do this? We start-off with an ultra-thin hard-drive with 5GB capacity.

4. How do we get 1000 songs on iPod? It has FireWire built into it. You can download an entire CD in 5 to 10 seconds. For 1000 songs you can do it under 10 minutes.

5. It doesn’t matter how many songs are with you if your battery is dead, right? We have 10 hours of batter life.

6. What happens if I am on the road with my iPod, I didn’t bring my Mac & my battery is running low? What do I do? You have got a really cool charger that ships with iPod.

7. This is cool. I have iBook, iTune and I am happy. What is so special about iPod? It is ultra-portable. iPod is the size of a deck of cards.

The master of all curiosities is, of course, the picture of actual iPod. And Steve presents it in the last 15 seconds in the presentation. In fact, he teases the audience by showing the picture of a deck of cards to give an idea of iPod size. As they say, a little teasing goes a long way.

Hats off to Steve Jobs!


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