Written by Steve Masur
Mayor Bloomberg spoke at the October New York Tech Meetup (nytm.org) right after Steve Jobs died.
Bloomberg said that one of the things he learned early on when he was creating the Bloomberg information service is that what people said in the focus groups was very different than what he observed them doing on the trading floors. He said that this is because the people who buy your product are not necessarily good at making your product.
Rather, they are more likely to be good at what THEY do. So if
you ask them how they want your product to be, you are asking them about something they don’t know much about, and they respond accordingly. So it follows that if what people say they will do is different than what they actually do, then what people say they will buy is different than what they actually buy. So in order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you should let your customers be good at what they do, and focus on how they actually behave in order to make good products for them. Bloomberg said that Steve Jobs understood this.
The way I would say it is that Steve Jobs clearly understood that as much as you should give your customers what they want, the truth is they don’t really know, so it is best to create what they should want, relentlessly promote it to them, and then adapt your products based on user feedback. Steve Jobs was brilliant at all three of these things.