How to Think Like Apple, Google, and Microsoft: Business Lessons From the Top


At Speck Design, our 27-year journey has allowed us to walk alongside successful companies at every stage of their growth. We've partnered with industry pioneers like Intuitive Surgical before their groundbreaking products revolutionized markets. We've worked with the visionary behind the PopSocket when all he had was an idea scribbled on a crumpled piece of paper. We've had the pleasure of collaborating with not only tech titans like Microsoft and Apple but also burgeoning powerhouses during their meteoric rise.

In our rich history, we've observed crucial principles guiding these successful organizations.

Prioritize User Research at Every Stage

One key lesson from successful companies like Google is their unwavering focus on user research at every stage of the product life cycle. It's easy for businesses, especially smaller ones, to only 'tick the box' of user research at the beginning of a project, assuming that they now fully understand their user needs. However, this approach often leads to misalignment between the product and its intended users over time. Google exemplifies how maintaining a customer-centric approach throughout every stage of the product lifecycle can ensure that technology serves to enhance the user experience, not just exist as a novel aspect of the business.

Avoid the Trap of Designing for Yourself

Passionate individuals and companies can sometimes fall into the trap of designing for themselves. The belief that being a user of your own product makes you understand your users can often result in a limited perspective and a less inclusive product design. While it's important to be enthusiastic about your product, it's equally crucial to remember that a product owner's perspective isn't the only one that matters.

Prioritize the End-User Experience

Tech industry behemoths like Apple and Microsoft don't just focus on their customers; they put the end-user experience at the heart of every decision. Providing customers with simple, enjoyable, and personalized experiences isn't just good customer service; it's a key competitive advantage. Smaller companies should view this focus not as a barrier but as an opportunity to apply these principles to their businesses, scaled to their capabilities.

Embrace the Need for External Help

Companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Facebook have all recognized the value of seeking external help. They understand that bringing in new perspectives and ideas can help mitigate the feedback loop that companies often experience when their ideas originate solely from within. It breaks up the homogeneity of thought that can stagnate innovation and allows fresh ideas and perspectives to permeate the organization.

At Speck Design, we've seen these principles play out across a diverse range of organizations and projects. While each company is unique, those that are successful invariably embrace these guiding principles. They understand that the most profound innovations aren't just about technology; they're about how technology can enhance human experiences and solve real-world problems.

As we look towards the future, we are confident that these principles will continue to guide successful businesses. At Speck Design, we merge best-in-category engineering, product design, and design thinking to create engaging and emotionally connected products. To learn more about our design and engineering services, feel free to reach out for a consultation.