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Watch Steve Jobs launch ‘Think Different’ internally, 1997.

By Dan Barczak

I have always been drawn to stories that matter; moreso how a story was written, why it was written, and where it was written. That’s what matters to me more than the finished story itself. What was someone going through when they created brilliance? I am moved by what happens behind the scenes, and what it really takes to creatively capture the minds and hearts of people. It’s what moves us at Hyperquake to constantly provoke and ask a simple question over and over again – Why? And when I came across this little 18 year-old gem from a town hall meeting in Cupertino, I couldn’t help but share my thoughts on creativity, passion, and what moves people by changing perceptions – especially when Steve Jobs came back to the same place that threw him out.

“I couldn’t even figure out the damn product line.”

On September 23, 1997, Steve Jobs had only been back on the job at Apple for about 10 weeks. He was in the midst of boldly shedding 70% of Apple’s product line, because most of it made no sense to him. In a meeting with some of his internal teams, he spoke about what was really changing at Apple. When Jobs finishes talking about the product pipeline, he moves onto what really matters to him. You can see his entire demeanor change. He talks about the heartbeat of Apple and what truly matters – what they stand for. When Steve Jobs speaks from the heart, it’s powerful. He admits that Nike is the greatest in the world at marketing & advertising, because they simply do two things: honor great athletes, and honor great athletics.

Then Jobs introduces the “Think Different” campaign. He discusses Chiat Day (whom we have collaborated with in the past to create a campaign for PUR with an ambitious goal to completely unbottle college campuses, starting with MIT). He later adds, “At our core, we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.” In 1997, Jobs knew that Apple had to communicate something powerful by honoring people who have changed the world. He knew that some people wouldn’t understand it…but he believed in letting people know who Apple was, at their core.

“We’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us.”

It’s moments like this that help remind us why we exist at Hyperquake. We believe in brands with vision, brands with character. And we create from that place. That is why our clients come to us. At a time when there are so many creative agencies in the world, and quite a few here in our backyard in Cincinnati, we often pause to reflect on how we got here, and how committed our clients have been to us over last 29 years.

The last thing Jobs does in this meeting is thank his team for their commitment. When you speak from the heart and show humility as a leader, it can truly help galvanize a culture – just like Jobs did at Apple as they created some of the most dynamic innovations of the last century.

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