Exhibit 3,567 Of How Steve Jobs Wins

Yes, a fourth post from The Race For Perfect: Inside the Quest to Design the Ultimate Portable Computer by Steve Hamm.

This one aptly illustrates once again How Steve Jobs Wins.

Just after lunchtime on January 15, 2008, at Lenovo Group’s offices in suburban Morrisville, North Carolina, it seemed as if a four-alarm fire had broken out. Peter Hortensius, the senior vice president in charge of the laptop business, stormed through the cubicles on the fourth floor of Building 2 shouting to his secretary: “Phyllis! Get me one of those interoffice mail envelopes!” Phyllis Arrington-McGee ransacked filing cabinets until she found one and handed it to Hortensius, who was waiting nervously in his office with Sam Dusi, the head of laptop marketing. Hortensius hoisted a slim black notebook computer, the ThinkPad X300, off of his desk and slipped it into the envelope. Then he shouted: “It fits! It fits!”

Such is life in one of the most competitive marketplaces on earth: the portable computer business. Hortensius’s anxiety attack had been brought on by Apple Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs. During the annual Macworld conference in San Francisco that morning, Jobs had revealed the MacBook Air, which he proudly labeled “the world’s thinnest notebook.” For dramatic effect, he drew the supersvelte silver machine out of an interoffice mailing envelope. It was like he was pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

That showy gesture could have been a crushing blow for Lenovo. The X300, on the drawing boards since June 2006, had just that morning received the go-ahead for manufacturing in a factory in Shenzhen, China. Like the MacBook Air, the X300 was supposed to cause a sensation with its thinness. Yet it was in danger of being upstaged — even though it was aimed at businesspeople, while MacBook Air was for consumers. So it was a relief to Hortensius that X300 also fit in the envelope.

Can you imagine that day? How many other computer makers went in search of an interoffice envelope?

Apple — Steve Jobs — does something and everyone else mimics.

Which is why Steve Jobs Wins.

He doesn’t mimic.

3 responses to “Exhibit 3,567 Of How Steve Jobs Wins

  1. True. They are innovators and great designers, though I must say the leaked iphone at first blush looked to me like a ZuneHD.

  2. Absolutely great read! Thanks.

  3. Dead on, as usual, Mike. By not being a mimic, he sets the standard. Great post.