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What You Can Learn from Apple

Of all the breakout companies in the technology/innovation economy of the last 30 years, Apple stands alone and small business owners and non-profits can learn a great deal from Apple’s success story:

  • Don’t overlook small details. The iPad2 has been deemed less impressive than the awesome SmartCover designed for it.
  • Keep things simple. Apple’s most successful products (iPod, iPhone and the iPad) are all very minimal. Look around your workplace, at processes and products at what you can eliminate vs. add.
  • Develop a cult-like community. Apple’s customers don’t just feel like customers. They feel like they belong to something larger. Kiva is a great example of a non-profit whose international online community of contributers interact heavily in forums.
  • It isn’t necessary to play nice with everyone. iTunes doesn’t mesh with all other tech providers, Apple has refused Adobe Flash for iPads/iPhones. Apple is notorious for not creating partnerships with other companies (unlike Google). Or perhaps it is better to say they are incredibly picky in those partnerships-and that is the takeaway and part of what creates that insulated sense of community.
  • Design matters. Of course, we at Ratio7 believe that strongly, but the world of design is getting increasing notice and there is little doubt that Apple’s clean, distinctive product designs, and logo, have lead that wave of attention.

Best iPhone/iPad Creativity Apps

Applications (apps) are changing the world. In fact, a recent article says that the smartphone is actually more a personal computer than the PC actually ever was. By the end of 2011, the majority of cell phone users will be using smartphones. And now that iPads and it’s competitors are so popular, there are apps for everything! 300,000 options at last count. Here are some of our favorite creativity apps:

  • Sketchbook Mobile/Sketchbook Pro: Made by Autodesk, the creator/owner of AutoCAD, this app offers professional grade painting and drawing on the iPhone/iPad. TONS of features for on-the-go creating at a professional level
  • Draw: Pretty basic with colored pencils and an eraser, it still allows for instant creativity AND allows you to Tweet or email your creations
  • Brushes: Brushes is a painting app designed specifically for iPhone/iPad with a variety of brushes and a nifty color picker
  • Hipstamatic: This photography app has spawned flickr groups and contests. Offers a variety of lenses to allow you to take photos that have a unique vintage feel. The corresponding website is brilliant as well!
  • ShakeItPhoto: Allows you to turn any iPhone photo into a Polaroid image by shaking your phone. Way cool!
  • CameraBag: Offers a variety of lenses to change your iPhone photos into different tones like black and white, sepia, silver, plastic camera, and even different years like 1962 and 1974 photo styles! A whole lotta fun!

Honestly, we could really keep going for a long time sharing fun and creative apps, but we’d rather hear from you! What are your favorites? What are we missing?

E-book Design

E-books are all the rage. Increasingly people are getting their information online or via devices like Amazon’s Kindle and e-books are perfect for this. They are also a great way to market yourself as an expert. You can write an e-book yourself or work with a ghostwriter and pay to have it done. Either way, one of the things that is key is having a great “cover” design when it you are ready to make it available for download.

One of the important details of marketing your e-book is to design a cover that is eye-catching and very “book like”. A great graphic designer will help you choose a cover that conveys what your book is about, looks professional, and doesn’t look cheap. While some details of a real book cover and an e-book cover will overlap, they are distinctly different.

E-book covers are not incredibly difficult for a designer so turnaround time is generally quick. They are also pretty affordable. Your designer will spend some time discussing the content of the book and then work with you on whether you want a traditional, modern or whimsical design. They can incorporate your existing logo or design something totally unique. However, those individuals who have sold e-books DO feel the cover is important in creating interest in their product. Ratio7 would love to work with you on a unique design. Feel free to contact us for more information!