[It is my belief that every business can benefit by marketing and selling better and that newer forms of advertising like a web video can give you that transformational edge that separates you from the pack and helps you win deals.  In this post I tell the story of how transformational advertising played a big part in helping me make that first hard-to-come-by million in the 1980s.  I mention all this in no small part because Staffing Talk has started a web production division for staffing companies.   Give us a call if you'd like to find out more. ]

I made my first million by advertising better.   It was that simple, and I have Steve Jobs to thank for it.

His genius transformed my business at two pivotal moments. One when he ran the now-famous Super Bowl ad for the MacIntosh in 1984, and the other when he came out with the Apple Laserwriter.

When the Macintosh commercial ran, it woke me up from the slumber of coding strictly on mainframes.

I had spent the previous two years building my software practice by writing airline software for an Air France-related  cooperative (SITA) that had put me in contact with developers from all over the world. That connected world of the airline industry was far more enticing to me than any stand-alone microcomputer could be.

The day after the commercial ran, Claude Avignon, a brilliant French pioneer of airline communications and the guy who gave me my first big contract ordered me into his office, and - equally mesmerized by the Macintosh ad -  declared that in 12 months the Mac was going to put me out of business.

Avignon scared me enough that I went out and bought one of the first Macs. And yes, that Mac made me think different and I quickly branched out my practice to include microcomputer software.

The other pivotal moment came with the introduction of the Laserwriter, which had the astounding effect of turning this art-class flunky into graphic wunderkind. I spent many late nights huddled with other entrepreneurs in the dank basement of the University of Minnesota Kinko’s office, creating my airline software manuals that would eventually find their way onto the desk of airline software developers around the world, from Australia to Spain to China and back.

Today at TempWorks, we take our cues from Apple’s design in building staffing software. Make design – the user experience – paramount in all product decisions.

For all those lessons and more, hat’s off to you, Steve Jobs. I can only try to emulate you.

Post Script

Lessons learned:

1. Watch Super Bowl commercials

2. Have eccentric clients

3. Try out super innovative products

4. If you can’t do art, use some new medium that no one else has tried. You’ll fool ‘em every time.

Tags: News, Apple, Steve Jobs, Staffing Software, Air France cooperative, Apple Laserwriter, Claude Avignon, Job website, MacIntosh Super Bowl ad, SITA