Apple Transformed by Exploiting Ritual Practices
The author of the book ‘Illuminate’ explained how Steve Jobs had leveraged the ceremony as a unique communication tool to get his point across and not once but twice in his career.
Power of Ceremonies
Ceremonies transform us. We oblige to certain religious, social ceremonies and believe that by observing these ceremonies we become something else. For example, through a ten minute marriage ceremony we become unmarried to married people.
Or, when we graduate we observe a graduation ceremony. A bar mitzvah or a quinceanera and moments like these where we become adults from young persons. Even in the case of organizations the importance of ceremonies is great and it is also a communication device which is less utilized today. Through these ceremonies the companies take a pause and decide on their position and take up a new on.
OS9 to OS10
One of the great examples of the significance of ceremonies can be drawn from Steve Jobs. When Steve Jobs came back To Apple he was leading the transition from Mac OS9 to Mac OS10. That’s why the Apple had bought NeXT, his company, was to have the NeXT operating system in place.
A talk called ‘Apple’s Hierarchy of Skepticism’ was done by him because everyone was so skeptical they could actually do it. There was this moment after he started to get momentum where he had this new dream of connecting everybody to a digital hub and he was getting frustrated with the lazy goers. Because these stragglers would not make the choice to come on, he actually had a coffin under the stage at the big developers’ conference shown in the opening scene at WWDC. When this coffin rises from the stage with smoke billowing out, he walks out with an oversized box of Mac OS9 and a red rose. Putting the box in the coffin and the red rose on top, he eulogized the death of Mac 0S9. This was a ceremony and it clearly gave the developers the signal that Mac OS9 is gone and it’s time to start a new beginning with the Mac OS10.
Because the developers were so frustrated he did another kind of ceremonial thing.
It was unbelievable to them that Apple was going to stick with a single software strategy because of their decades of confusion and tries over an operating system.
So before the mock funeral, at another occasion at WWDC, he pulled out an oversized parchment paper and made a public vow to the developers ensuring their strong will to stick with a single software strategy. A vow is a promise almost like a wedding vow, so it’s a ceremony. And this is what ceremonies do; they declare the endings, beginnings and commitments.
Transcripted by Benazir Elahee Munni