This was an article I was working on long before Steve’s passing. I’m glad I waited thanks to reading at least half of the biography for some perspective.
A while back, I found an article from Fast Company on “10 Things Corporations Can Learn from Pro Wrestling“. This was around the time of the WWDC when Steve Jobs was selling me on iOS 5 several months before the iPhone 4S. It sort of made sense.
Pyro. Well, not real pyro. But those effects are really nice to convey the point. Using the model that the video looks like your iChat session is great and sets them apart from other presentations.
Master of the Mic. I liken Jobs to Chris Jericho. One of my favorite times with Jericho was when he was a heel and instead of yelling in the mic like many in pro wrestling, he would whisper to bring you in. Make you lean in to hear what he has to say and make it seem more important. Jobs is soft spoken and emotional in his delivery. The other side of this could be a Steve Ballmer as Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Get me excited. A parallel I see amongst tech pundits and wrestling smarks is very similar. Some are into this because of their love for the subject, but haven’t been excited by it over the years. We just want to get excited over it. Apple wins the battle for the reveal. It’s so hard to get excited about wrestling and technology with the internet. There are so many leaks and rumors that it flattens the response when something is finally executed. From an Undertaker return to a new phone on Verizon, it’s all moot in the end. Rarely are we truly surprised. Apple tends to pull it off more often than not with their features and unveilings.
The Build. You typically don’t book your biggest names at the beginning of the card. The right booker knows how to pace a show that builds to the big finish at the end. And sometimes, there’s a late run in or post match surprise or return. Steve’s presentations did this perfectly. Build. Show what we’ve done. Show where we’re going. And maybe, just maybe, we get the hot Triple H run in of “One more thing” to blow our socks off.
The Final Say. Some say some of the creative minds that “revolutionized” the business did so because they had Vince McMahon as a filter. He has the final say so, and those minds and talents have floundered when left to their own devices in other wrestling companies. Steve’s vision is what drove the company, denying status quo, and sometimes, what the customers thought. Not everything worked out. There’s always a Gobble Gooker to a Stone Cold Steve Austin like there’s a G4 Cube to the iPod. But the views by workers of both men being bears to work for is startlingly similar.
I’ve watched some presentations in the last year from video game companies, Facebook and Google that feel like they are trying so hard. Flat. Almost all of them. They are the WCW’s of the business presentation. Maybe even the Wrestlicious sometimes…