The Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) wrapped up last week and all of the buzz was about “the cloud.” To be more precise, the theme was the “iCloud.” It was an Apple event after all. It’s getting to be their iWorld – we just live in it.

Last week I wrote about IBM’s Watson computer being tasked with helping physicians with their diagnosis and treatment plans as well as the hoped-for ability of the system to sift symptomology and develop completely new best practices. I was discussing that blog and the overall impact of technology with a friend who just didn’t “get” the whole idea of the cloud. My friends is no Luddite, but try as I might, I just couldn’t explain it to his satisfaction.

After that call, I went to YouTube to see how Steve Jobs had described the cloud during his segment of the WWDC Conference keynote. As a frequent public speaker, I am always interested in watching and learning from other presenters, and Jobs’ ability to fuse enthusiasm and simplicity has always fascinated me. He didn’t disappoint on either count.

Later that day, I called my friend back and expressed my frustration at my inability to adequately describe the concept of “the cloud” in our earlier conversation. He asked if I had thought of an explanation that his “non-techie brain” could grasp. He was very excited when I told him that I had – and that I had learned it while watching that video of Steve Jobs.

As he waited patiently, I explained that the whole “concept” thing and the “how it works” thing didn’t matter. He seemed relieved, yet a bit confused until I used a phrase that Jobs must have used at least a dozen times during that keynote. That phrase is a lesson we should all keep in mind as we explain ever more complicated concepts to our clients: “It just works.”

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