11 Nov 2019

What do Apple Stores, Tokyo’s Nissan Crossing, a car dealership with no salespeople and the Notre Dame Cathedral have in common? Today’s guest on the TechBurst Asia podcast. You may not know him by name, but you will undoubtedly know his work. Today I’m pleased to be joined by a design industry legend and visionary, Eight Inc.’s Founder & CEO, Tim Kobe.

Show notes: 

01:30 What was it like when you first discussed the Apple Store concept with Steve Jobs back in 1998?

04:40 When the first Apple store launched in 2001, it wasn’t a guaranteed success. We were in the middle of the dotcom bust – this was a new paradigm for retail – and Bloomberg went so far as to write an article titled “Sorry Steve, Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work”. Tim tells us about what it was like before the first store opened.

07:30 How did you maintain your belief in the Apple Store concept – even when the industry doubted whether the stores could succeed?

09:00 How Apple Stores were built with sustainability in mind – “if” one ever closes, it can be broken down and recycled. “If”.

11:00 How well are we doing with regards to sustainability in Asia? And what should governments and businesses do to lead the way forward with regards to sustainability?

16:20 Some of Tim’s other work…

Nissan Crossing in Ginza, Tokyo

Nissan Crossing

Xiaomi’s flagship store in Shenzhen, China


Lincoln’s car dealerships in China – with no salespeople

Lincoln China

25:30 The industry’s move away from “Return on Investment” and towards “Return on Experience”

27:00 What is the role of design and human experience with regards to technology products, like a smartphone, a wearable, or random widget?

30:00 Tim had shared a video with me from Lee Clow, the creative genius behind Apple’s iconic commercials, including the “1984” Super Bowl commercial. The video is titled “Disrupt Manifesto” – and its message is don’t do the right thing, but don’t do the wrong thing – do the BRAVE thing. Who does Tim think is doing the “brave thing” today?

32:30 What career advice would Tim give to young tech entrepreneurs?

35:20 What is the most unique project you have been asked to work on?

36:45 Where does Tim go to find inspiration?

38:00 Tim and his team’s submission for the Notre Dame Cathedral design competition

Notre Dame Tim Kobe Design

40:30 Tim’s new book, Eight Inc.: Return on Experience, is about the importance of the design and business relationship – and why you need to design  your business around the human outcome. It is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

Return on Experience

See Tim presenting his work and approach at Property Guru’s Asia Real Estate Summit on 21 November 2019 in Bangkok.

PropertyGuru ARES