It just works…better


Steve Jobs famously used the phrase “it just works” all the time (see this video montage).

Over ten years ago I was converted from “PC” to “Mac” after my “power user” Compaq laptops kept wearing out. The same dealer in Cayman sold both Compaq and Apple and recommended a MacBook Pro. He said: “it just works”. He was right, and I’ve been an Apple user ever since.

Now, I could write today about how I feel Apple has lost this focus on their products since Steve Jobs passed, but today I am going to focus on the power of the phrase:

It just works…better

So, the other day someone shared the summary financial statements of Zoom on Twitter, then someone else shared them and finished with the phrase: “it just works better”

I love Mike Volpe’s thoughts, and also do open the tweet thread to get Logan Barlett’s post of the financials.

So, it makes me thinks of examples of “it just works better” as basically the key (if not sole, in some cases) reason for success.

In terms of video communication, as someone who makes many video calls every week and has done for many years, I’ve tried and paid for many options, as well as used lots of free ones. For years Skype was free AND good, then it felt that it wasn’t robust enough, so our business went to Citrix GoToMeeting and paid well over $1000 per year for a few licences for that service as it was really robust.

You know what has happened in the last year or two, though? More and more people have moved to Zoom. Yes, there are free options, but for only about £100 per year, the professional option is just great. I used it for all my own meetings, and increasingly those whose meetings I join used the same.

As Mike Volpe noted, they were not first to market and no clear differentiation other than the simple: “it just works better”.

Put another way, the product is just great.

Other products and services that come to mind where “it just works better” has been key to success. Oh, and I love, use and recommend all of them.

  • SriRacha
    • hot sauce
    • No big marketing budget, just a great product
  • Berkshire Hathaway
    • Investment holding company
    • In a world of massive infrastructure around investment management, over time one of the most successful investors of all time has been Warren Buffett
    • His head office has only about 25 staff and his website must cost less than $100 per year to run, it is that simple (and is unchanged in the twenty plus years I’ve invested in and followed the company)
  • Aeropress
    • Makes about the best home coffee I’ve ever tasted
    • Costs only about $25
    • People who really know and love coffee tell others
  • Evernote
    • Evernote is where I store my life. I don’t have to remember things, I simply put them in Evernote.
    • Oh, 220 million users and counting

Now, a punchline for leaders.

You know what else “just works better”?

An organisation that is truly clear on their WHY, on WHO they want working with them and who their clients are, and on HOW they behave.

In short, they focus on WHO they truly are, which is my definition of their BRAND.

Get clear on your BRAND (your WHY) and everything else flows.

Invest in your BRAND over any other strategic and high-level focus. Why?

It just works better


Also published on Medium.