Steve Jobs Knew How to Write an Email. Here's How He Did It
In 2010, Jobs and Apple were preparing to release the iPad. A key feature would be the tablet's ability to function as an e-reader, similar to Amazon's Kindle (which had already been out for a few years). Of course, the more publishers willing to contribute books to Apple's iTunes store, the more appeal the iPad would hold.
Jobs proceeded to write an email to try to convince HC to join.
He uses the recipient's name.
This email is only a part of a larger thread that had begun at least two days earlier. There was no need for Jobs to address Murdoch by name. So, why did he?
Of course, we can't read Jobs's mind. But using a person's first name reestablishes connection and helps build trust. It says: Look, I know you. You know me. We're on the same side here.
Takeaway: I'm not suggesting you begin every email with the person's name, especially after correspondence has already begun. But if you're trying to make a point or reestablish a common ground, remember the famous words of Dale Carnegie:
"A person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."
It's well-thought out.
I don't know how long Jobs took to compose this email, but we can assume it was more than a few minutes. It clearly explains his position, in simple, understandable terms.
"Heck, Amazon is selling these books at $9.99, and who knows, maybe they are right and we will fail even at $12.99," Jobs writes. "But we're willing to try at the prices we've proposed. We are not willing to try at higher prices because we are pretty sure we'll all fail."
This language is conversational, vulnerable, and paints the picture of Apple giving it their best shot, pursuing bias for action, and preparing to learn from any mistakes.
• Is it clear and logical? Fair and balanced?
• Is it easy to read? (Using numbers or bullets like Jobs did can help.)
• Am I sure I won't later regret something I've written here?
• Was I careful not to write too much?
Repeat the process a few times, until you can confidently answer yes to each question.
Let hope we continue to be the victorious underdogs at the Super Bowl tonight and win the big one!
Stay warm and have a great Sunday and an even better sales week!