Steve Jobs’s marketing whiz on what makes Apple tick

By , Aug 8, 2012

Ken Segall is the guy who dreamed up the iMac name and one of Steve Jobs’s most-trusted ad men who advised Apple’s late mercurial CEO on advertising concepts since the NeXT days, which includes work on the famous Think Different campaign. Segall is also the author of Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, a book on Apple that focuses on the company’s Simplicity mantra.

Segall sat with TIME’s Editor-at-large Harry McCracken to talk for more than an hour about the ingredients that made Apple such a success, the company’s DNA, leadership tips, marketing, advertising and much more…

Segall is the marketing expert and former Creative Director at Apple. He worked closely with Jobs on advertising concepts at both Apple and NeXT and was also on the TBWA\Chiat\Day team behind the famous ‘Think Different’ campaign.

He now works for a bunch of clients, including retailer JCPenney, where Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson is the new CEO tasked with applying some of Apple’s magic to reinvigorate JCPenney’s ailing brick-and-mortar stores.

The entire interview (via 9to5Mac) runs an hour and 19 minutes long and has been made available via the Computer History Museum’s YouTube channel.

Here’s a blurb from YouTube:

Many people consider Apple the most powerful brand in the world — an accolade that’s hard to dispute when its product line includes iPad, the iPod, iPhone, iMac and MacBook Air. Companies all over the world try to emulate Apple’s creative genius and groundbreaking marketing. But what is the real secret to Apple’s success? According to Ken Segall, the man who put the “i” in iMac and served as a member of Steve Jobs’ creative inner circle for more than a decade, the answer is: simplicity.

Segall’s book reveals what sets Apple apart from other technology companies and makes it stand out in a complicated world: a deep, almost religious belief in the power of simplicity. The purest expression of Steve Jobs’ unique viewpoint, it’s apparent in everything Apple does, from product design to advertising.

Serving as Jobs’ ad agency creative director for both NeXT and Apple, Segall led the team that created Apple’s legendary Think Different campaign, which was an integral part of Apple’s transformation following Jobs’ return. Segall’s other clients have included technology giants such as Dell, Intel and IBM as well as consumer brands such as JCPenney.

Harry McCracken, TIME’s Editor-at-large, has covered the technology beat for two decades, writing about the Web, mobile technology, consumer electronics and PCs for PC World, Macworld, CNET, and his own site, Technologizer. He will moderate a discussion with Segall about Apple, Steve Jobs and the art of marketing technology to the masses, from the inside out.

Segall also revealed recently that Steve Jobs didn’t ask a potential employee if he was a virgin, which is the famous scene from a 1999 movie Pirates of Silicon Valley.

Here’s that scene.

Commenting on Apple’s wondrous spaceship-like campus, Segall wrote that “To Steve, designing and building his new company home is no different than designing and building an Apple product”.

If you don’t have time to sit through the entire TIME interview with Segall, do save it for later, it’s a worthwhile take on the secretive Apple machine from the man who worked alongside Jobs through some of both Apple’s and Job’s most turbulent times.

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