“Meet Bob Messerschmidt,” Mark Sullivan reports for Fast Company. “Apple quietly acquired Messerschmidt’s startup in 2010 (after Messerschmidt sent Steve Jobs an unsolicited email, but that’s another story). Afterwards, Messerschmidt was placed on the Apple Watch team, where he led a group charged with architecting new sensor technologies for the device. The heart rate sensors on the Apple Watch we know today are the creation of Messerschmidt and his team. Because health and wellness are perhaps the main use cases for the Watch, Messerschmidt played a central role in the Watch’s overall design, and had regular interaction with the vaunted Industrial Design Group led by Jony Ive.”
“Messerschmidt has since gone on to found his own company, Cor,” Sullivan reports. “He agreed to talk to Fast Company about the lessons he learned about design, collaboration, secrecy, the Vision Thing, and the Apple Way during his three years at Apple.”
A few snippets:
There was an effort to encapsulate what it is that makes Apple Apple. It was after [Steve Jobs] knew he was going to be going. (Jobs died in 2011 of complications from pancreatic cancer.) There were a lot of people who were trying to distill that down. People were looking to encapsulate those lessons in order to train future executives. To some degree, if I were being cynical today — which maybe I am — I would say most of them missed the point. You want to think you can train people up to think that way, but I think that’s the biggest thing they get wrong. It’s not teachable.
You may remember that right after he died there was all this stuff about “can Apple go on?” Could anybody have the capacity to do that job (Jobs’s)? All I can say at this point is that the jury is still out, but so far I think the signs are kind of pointing to “No.” It’s definitely not the same place.
Read more in the full article – highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: The whole section about why the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensors are where they are and why they work so well even with a loosely-strapped-on Apple Watch is an excellent encapsulation of how Apple goes about product design – the user is preeminent – that most other consumer-focused companies miss due to incorrect thinking and/or company structure.