I was filling in some blanks on the upcoming September issue of the Security Sanity newsletter when my Google-fu showed me something I’d heard about, but I’d never actually watched before. It was a clip of Steve Jobs taking a question at the 1997 Apple developer conference on why he killed OpenDoc as part of the transition of him returning as CEO of Apple after the 1996 acquisition of NeXT.
When asked, Jobs paused for a long moment, and this is his answer:
“The hardest thing is [knowing]…how does that [killer technology] fit in to a cohesive, larger vision that’s going to allow you sell, um…$8 billion…$10 billion of product a year.
“And one of the things I’ve always found is that…You’ve gotta start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try and sell it. And I’ve made this mistake more than probably anyone else in this room. And I’ve got the scar tissue to prove it, and I know that it’s the case.”
Working from “the customer experience backwards to the technology.”
Nope. Never ever seen a security program that tried to do the opposite…or a vendor…or a standard.
What a crazy idea!
I mean, we have all these threats, and we “know” how to counter them…
And we have all these vulnerabilities, and we “know” how to counter them…
…with all these bazillions of controls
…and the bazillions of standards
It’s like wallpaper, right? We just apply enough glue, and…hey, if you have a crazy enough pattern, nobody’s going to know if you’ve got it crooked…or if the wall’s cracked…or if you even did the wall you were supposed to do.
Pink unicorns with teddy bears and balloons…in the kitchen? Yep. Meant to do that.
Hospital white in the baby room, of course? What else would it be?
So, as the person from the audience who asked the question said, it’s clear Steve Jobs doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Which is more important to you as security?
All the controls you can cram into the organization to lock down everything so tight that people can’t even breathe…
…or the $8 billion to $10 billion of product the company’s trying to sell per year?
But to do it right, you need to understand some things about what it takes to generate that $8-10 billion. And there’s some essential basics you can use from another business icon, Peter Drucker, to help you get a handle and focus on what is really important for the business.
Fully “secure” and no customers means fully unemployed—for everyone in the organization.
Fully “secure” and no risk means no business.
So we have to be able to know enough about what our customers are trying to do…we have to understand our customers’ worlds enough so that we can come with ideas for how we can help them do better—and maybe, we can even come up with ideas that will help them get there faster, cheaper or create more value to the ultimate customers of the organization.
But we won’t know, if we can’t get the meeting…if we can’t connect with them about they care about…if we can’t understand what’s involved and what’s an essential part of doing what they need to do…if we can’t understand what value they create.
That’s where the September issue of the paid Security Sanity newsletter comes in. It helps you connect with, relate to and communicate in terms of the worlds of your customer…
…so you can be more effective at keeping the organization safe.
However…it’ll only help you if you subscribe, and you subscribe before the issue goes to the printer. Now, you might be thinking, Andrew, I’ve got loooooooaaaaaadsssss of time before the end of the month. I’ll get around to it.
Or maybe you won’t.
Or maybe you don’t want to figure out how to understand your customers world better than you do
Or maybe you don’t want to be any more effective than you are today in delivering a security program that truly supports the business.
So my suggestion is that if you know you want it, you take out your well-worn credit card right now, head on over to the link below, and just get it done.
And then, you sit back, and wait for it to arrive at your front door. And you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
To subscribe, use this link: https://securitysanity.com.
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive