Very frequently, I hear people comment -including those who are informed about the topic- that “Steve Jobs did not believe in market research” and that he never considered consumers’ opinions to make decisions, develop products or understand markets. You have probably heard similar comments.
If Jobs was a common person, I would not worry about his opinion regarding the professional activity to which I have dedicated most of my life. But it’s not possible to ignore what has been said by one of the most admired business of our times: the creator of Apple Computer in his house garage; the great innovator behind the Macintosh and computer animated movies (Pixar), as well as other products and services, such as iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iTunes Store and App Store.
Now, what Jobs really said is that he had never relied on market research as a tool to develop the products that consumers need. He claimed that “they don’t know what they need until we show it to them”. Thus, he said the job of an innovator is to “decipher what consumers will need even before they need it”, which implies having the ability to “read things that are not yet written”.