Steven Burda Gives a Hoot About Design

Steven Burda Knows Best: LinkedIn’s Super-Connector Explains It All

steve-burdaAs LinkedIn’s most connected person, Steven Burda knows business. Often called “LinkedIn’s Mother Theresa” for his generous, pay-it-forward style, Burda is living proof that connections matter.

We were curious that for someone who is so successful in business, do they care about good design? Does that affect their bottom line? So we went right to the source, and asked the man himself…as a business man, do you care about design? How does it help a company to connect? In other words, who gives a hoot?

“Design in business is no longer a choice,”

Burda says. Most businesses today recognize its importance, so if yours doesn’t then it’s falling behind. “It’s like putting a donkey next to a car. Which would you choose?”

“Design is all around us. Everything man-made has been designed, whether consciously or not.” We agree Steven. All things are designed. Few things are designed well.

Apple – Simplicity is the Ultimate Form of Sophistication

Burda says that design is more important than ever because of one company: Apple. “Apple venerates design like few other companies of its size. They’re the best brand and design studio of the last fifty years.”

Steve Jobs was the first in Silicon Valley to understand that design is where art and technology break even. Jobs often said that designer Jony Ives was “his soul mate at Apple.” Great content deserves great packaging.

As Burda puts it, “Only some people know how many megahertz their iPad runs on. But everyone knows it looks good.”

Apple’s design triumphs, from the iPod, to the iPhone, to the Macbook Air (its only notable failure was the poor hockey puck mouse) all followed Jobs’ favorite maxim: that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. Steve Jobs knew that design wasn’t just something to be tacked on at the end, like icing on a cake. Design is the cake. And it’s sweetest when it’s simple.

In other words, bad design says “look at me.” Great design says “look at this.”

Designing Forward

Burda explained the many ways that design is driving business and technology forward. “Think of a car. The technology is important, of course, but after awhile it’s not enough to make people feel really excited about it. At that point, designers step in and make something really special. That’s what Mercedes and Porsche do. Their design philosophy is, they’re not just making a car. They’re making an experience.”

“Or take the Olympic Games. Before, it was just about the sports. But today, can you imagine the Games without the opening ceremony? The way things look, the spectacle, and the performance is just as important as the games are. It’s about identity. It’s about sending a message. The opening ceremony is the way a country can get its brand out there. That’s design.”

Amen Steven! Here’s one business person who really understands what design is all about.

As he put it, “business without design is like a fish without water. Can’t survive without it — but with it, you’ll thrive.”

To check out more about Super-Connector Steven Burda, find him on Twitter @sburda or on LinkedIn here: Happy connecting!