Steve Jobs and the ‘Rule of 3′

Macworld Australia Staff
10 July, 2012
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The late Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs applied the ‘Rule of 3’ to a number of his keynotes and Apple releases, believing that people can only remember three pieces of information at a time.

American history and the country itself is based on the ‘Rule of 3’. Thomas Jefferson, one of the ‘founding fathers’ and the third president of the United States, voiced three rights in the US Declaration of Independence – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – as the basis for the country’s principles, a concept Jobs emphasised in his time at Apple.

According to Forbes’ Carmine Gallo, at the 2007 Macworld Expo Jobs introduced the iPhone as the third of Apple’s “revolutionary product categories” after the Macintosh and the iPod. His presentation focused on the combination of the iPod, phone and internet in one device.

“Jobs repeated the three products slowly until the audience finally figured out he was talking about one device capable of handling all three tasks,” Gallo writes.

The trend continued in 2010 when Jobs launched the iPad, stating it was the ‘third device’ after the smartphone and laptop and was available in three storage models: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.  And a year later Jobs described the iPad 2 as “thinner, lighter and faster” than its predecessor.

Gallo believes the use of the ‘Rule of 3’ in clarifying communications has had an impact on the success of both Jobs and Jefferson.

“The number of items we can easily recall in short-term memory (is) three or four ‘chunks’ of information,” she writes, and as “a communications coach, I strongly recommend using the ‘Rule of 3’ in all areas of communications: marketing, pitches and presentations.”



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