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Interview: Ken Segall

Peter Roper | Feb. 24, 2016
This wide-ranging interview with Ken Segall covers the insights on simplicity discovered while researching his second book and his concept of ‘dual DNA’ that stops simplicity being the default way of doing business… plus his thoughts on post-Jobs Apple and the rumoured car.

It just made me think. Between all the other people I talked to and him, there seems to be this thing, and I guess it just comes from a company being super successful, that people start thinking that it's making mistakes now. It's weird because I don't think people give Apple enough credit for being incredibly smart. The people who run the company, they're not going to stumble in some embarrassing way. They're really really smart, and that's how they got to where they are.

I think it's the beginning of a new thing and I'd be very surprised if it failed. I personally find it the height of convenience. Half the time I used to look at my phone. and I don't have to now. If my wrist is tapping, I know it's important enough to look. It's a great filter.

Up until now, notifications have been the big thing. Our phones keep telling us all these things that keep us abreast of things, and now the job of the watch is to filter all that out. People who write apps for the watch, if it's not delivering really important, good information, it will just frustrate people, and they won't use it, so the app makers now need to figure out exactly what information are we giving people on their watch.

If Apple is working on a car, do you think that fits in with the company?

It's a difficult thing, talking about the vision of simplicity. I think Apple's vision is making people's lives simpler and more wonderful. Giving them the tools to do things and further their personal lives, and their careers, and all that kind of stuff. I don't think it's so much about one kind of product. I think they could rationalise a car within the vision of what the company does. Whether they're actually doing the car, and all the indications are that they are. All these hires and everything. Five hundred people working in a secret facility and hiring some top Tesla guy, and Tesla's human resources person. It certainly sounds like a thing.

But cars, I just think, 'Well, they've got US$200 billion in the bank, and if they want to, they should look at every possible thing they can do. If they want to pick 500 people and have them work on a car for a year or two and see what they come up with, what's it going to cost? Two or three billion? Sure, let's do it.

They're obligated to look at everything, and they don't necessarily go ahead and produce everything, [but] I do think they could rationalise that.


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