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The View From Here | November 2011

Many are calling him the Henry Ford of our time. To me he was always just a computer geek who happened to be the mastermind behind the computer I HAD to use to make a living. I can honestly say I have never been a Mac fan, just a loyal Mac user.

Of course I’m talking about Steve Jobs and Apple, who created Macintosh computers.

You see, 20 years ago when I was in college, about the only people who used Macs—created by Apple and Jobs—were people in graphic design. The rest of the world used PCs.

However, in the last few years, with the release of things like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, many died-in-the-wool PC users have switched over to Apple products and have become the companies most vocal supporters.

What I find interesting is that as a general rule Apple products are WAY more expensive than their competitor’s products. I mean, who in their right mind would pay $400 for a phone, $2,300 for a laptop or $400 for a music player?

The answer is millions of people.

The question is why? Because they are cool and different, dare I say revolutionary.

Now I must admit, Apple products also work very well. They are tough, have a long shelf life and the operating system is very stable. But, let’s face it, most people purchased the “i” products because of the wow factor.

You know what? Many people buy cattle for the same reason. Often times, the cattle that create the most buyer interest and generate the most dollars are the ones that have the most people saying wow. Or at least the cattle that are the most different from the average population.

If ALL feeder cattle were weaned for 45 days, all-natural, source verified, and guaranteed to grade Choice and be yield grade 1, do you think they would be fetching the kind of premiums were are seeing those types of cattle bring right now?

Think about the last registered cattle show or sale you went to. Which cattle stood out to you? Which cattle created the most interest? It was probably those that were somehow different from the average population. Maybe it was on paper, in the form of EPDs, actual performance or pedigree. Or maybe it was how uniquely they combined muscle, depth of body and eye appeal. The reasons vary, but the outcomes are usually the same.

Please believe me when I say, I am not pushing some form of single-trait selection, I am simply pointing out that “average” rarley gets rewarded.

The cattle industry has had its fair share of revolutionaries over the years, but the fact is, you don’t have to be a Steve Jobs type to attract the masses.

But, you can learn from people like Steve Jobs. Create a product that is unique. Do a good job marketing that product. And make sure the product actually works as promised.

Who knows, maybe someday, someone will call you the Steve Jobs of your generation.

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