Just three things

I was due to speak at TM Forum Live today but wasn’t able to make it across to France this year. However, the talk will still continue on, so if you’re in Nice please drop in to listen to Amrit Singh and Crispin Blackall talk about how Infosys and Telstra are using microservices to deliver on Telstra’s next-generation of operational support tools. Details as follows:

Date: Wednesday 17th May
Time: 12:20 PM for 25 minutes
Track: Agile Operations & IT Live!
Room: Athena Auditorium, Level 2
CASE STUDY: Putting Microservices into Practice

I may’ve missed out on Nice, but I had the honour of hosting some lectures at LaTrobe University here in Melbourne yesterday instead. During the lectures, I presented some of the ideas in the video below because it really resonates with me. I often come back to this video because of the simple, articulate messages that Steve Jobs delivers.


This is a really interesting snapshot of Steve Jobs’ mode of thinking roughly 8-10 weeks after re-joining Apple as Interim CEO in 1997, at the start of one of the more famous turn-arounds in corporate history. In typical Jobs fashion, he focuses on threes… just three things… a simple list of three objectives.

Great Products – smaller, more concise, more relevant product line

Great Distribution – simplifying the supply chain and reducing backlog of inventory

Great Marketing – clear messaging and investment in the brand and core values rather than the product features

He may be speaking of Apple’s strategic shift, but these three things are also highly pertinent to the OSS industry (and I’ve found them relevant to other business strategies too).

Great Products – smaller, more concise, more relevant product line rather than the unwieldy, confusing list of products that make up many OSS offerings (that goes for internally developed OSS suites, not just vendor offerings)

Great Distribution – I also associate this with simpler and clearer “delivery” of projects / services as well digital software distribution methods (think cloud delivery). I also see this as a reference to the supply chain for our customers, helping them to deliver great offerings out to the market.

Great Marketing – clear messaging and investment in the brand and core values rather than the product features. OSS marketing tends to focus on the features (ie the arms-race of functionality) rather than articulating the advantages we deliver. This possibly occurs because we often can’t articulate to ourselves what the customer is really wanting to solve (to be honest, the customer often isn’t always great at articulating this either, as they often talk about features too).

Steve’s three things helped Apple’s turnaround become one of the most successful in history, so perhaps they can work for you. If not, what are your three things?

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