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Steve Jobs originally envisioned Apple Stores as targeting creative professionals

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Former Apple retail head Ron Johnson convinced the late Steve Jobs to abandon a plan to focus the company's retail business on creative professionals and instead cater to all types of customers.

Even before he had started work at Apple, Johnson was making changes at the company. According to a profile on the executive by Fortune, Jobs told Johnson during a recruiting meeting that he wanted Apple's retail stores to be for creative professionals.

"I said, 'Well, then I'm not coming. If you want to be a store for all Americans, sign me up,'" Johnson recounted in an interview with the publication.

Johnson made a name for himself at Target during the 1990s before being wooed to Apple. Working directly with Jobs, he crafted Apple's retail division into the world's most profitable retailer. Apple Stores average $6,000 in revenue per square foot, compared to $156 at J.C. Penney.

Although Jobs has received a lot of the credit for Apple's retail successes, Johnson played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role at the company.


Ron Johnson and Steve Jobs at Fifth Avenue store opening.


"The reason it worked was Ron," said Michael Kramer, who previously served as Apple Retail's CFO and now works with Johnson as Penney's COO. "Even in the face of bad numbers or challenges, he was always inspiring you."

According to the report, Johnson approached Jobs in September 2000 about the entire approach to Apple's retail stores.

"I think we've got it wrong," he said. "The stores are fundamentally flawed." Johnson argued that the stores shouldn't be organized around individual products and should instead incorporate Apple's idea for a 'digital hub.'

Jobs reacted strongly at first. After all, ground had already been broken on the first location in McLean, Va. "Do you realize how much time I put into designing this store?" he said. After a pause, he conceded, "You might be right, but don't talk about it to the team today."

According to Johnson, Jobs subsequently walked into a team meeting and said, "Ron thinks this store is all wrong, and he's right. We're going to start over.'"

Johnson revealed late last year that he had "reimagined everything" when creating Apple's retail stores. "You have to create a store that's more than a store to people," he said. "People come to the Apple Store for the experience — and they're willing to pay a premium for that."

After more than 10 years at Apple, Johnson announced last June that he was leaving to become CEO at J.C. Penney, thereby fulfilling a lifelong dream of running a retail company. Jobs reportedly responded to the news by disparaging the retailer as "a B- or C company with B- people." At Jobs' behest, Johnson agreed to stay on at Apple until November.

Once at J.C. Penney, Johnson quickly assembled a team of former Apple executives around him at J.C. Penney. In January, he unveiled his plan for the 110-year-old retailer with a full page ad in The Wall Street Journal that proclaimed a goal of becoming consumers' "favorite store."




Johnson turned out to be a tough executive to replace, as Apple spent months searching for his replacement. The company eventually hired John Browett, the CEO at European technology retailer Dixons, as its new head of retail.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 56
As great as Jobs vision was he had a lot of flawed ideas. His original name for the iMac sticks out. At least he knew when a better idea was being presented. I'd say that not not only makes him intelligent, but wise.

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post #3 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

As great as Jobs vision was he had a lot of flawed ideas. His original name for the iMac sticks out. At least he knew when a better idea was being presented. I'd say that not not only makes him intelligent, but wise.


Yes, whatever the cost .. (start all over again ...). Impossible in a "normal" company ...
post #4 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to the report, Johnson approached Jobs in September 2000 about the entire approach to Apple's retail stores. "I think we've got it wrong," he said. "The stores are fundamentally flawed." Johnson argued that the stores shouldn't be organized around individual products and should instead incorporate Apple's idea for a 'digital hub.'

But aren't Apple stores currently organized around individual products? Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads & accessories are all in their own sections of each Apple Store. Sounds like Steve's original vision is what we have today, unless I am missing something.

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post #5 of 56
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Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

But aren't Apple stores currently organized around individual products? Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads & accessories are all in their own sections of each Apple Store. Sounds like Steve's original vision is what we have today, unless I am missing something.

For the most part they are organized into their respective categories but they all share tables without there being physical sections for each product or product type. If you consider PC and Mac setups in stores prior to the Apple Stores the design was much more restricting and not a good experience. Now I can find stores with PCs on tables instead of on shelves.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 56
The point of surrounding yourself with the best of the best is that they should and will challenge you. Unless your colleague, co-worker, subordinate or manager can challenge your ideas, you won't push yourself. I think that's the point of surrounding yourself with A people - they won't settle for bad ideas. Think about all the tech companies losing their market value at the moment - a few more Steve Job's type decisions in board-rooms could well have saved them from the plight they are now facing...
post #7 of 56
It's truly unfortunate Apple now hates creative professionals these days, the people that stayed with the company when it was on the brink. The people that repeatedly showcase Apple products in movies and television, the people that show off their products on stage...

Now Apple turns it's back.

Creative professionals need an upgraded workstation, the processors are now available! We need matte screens! We need an OS that retains compatibility with our software!!!!
post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by macstarter View Post

The point of surrounding yourself with the best of the best is that they should and will challenge you. Unless your colleague, co-worker, subordinate or manager can challenge your ideas, you won't push yourself. I think that's the point of surrounding yourself with A people - they won't settle for bad ideas. Think about all the tech companies losing their market value at the moment - a few more Steve Job's type decisions in board-rooms could well have saved them from the plight they are now facing...

Actually, investors kill companies. Look at HP.

It goes this way: investors invest in ideas and men, sometimes it makes huge money and you get a big company. Then investors grow cautious because now there is big money involved and they won't let "Steve Jobs-types" do whatever they want and "risk the company every year". The company "freezes" and over time you get HP.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Actually, investors kill companies. Look at HP.

It goes this way: investors invest in ideas and men, sometimes it makes huge money and you get a big company. Then investors grow cautious because now there is big money involved and they won't let "Steve Jobs-types" do whatever they want and "risk the company every year". The company "freezes" and over time you get HP.

HP is a special case. They`ve always had a conservative corporate culture (and un-focused business plan), things just started to go sideways for them when they couldn`t decide if they wanted to be like Apple or IBM. But even then, they still did 127 billion in revenue in 2011 (more than Apple).
post #10 of 56
Honestly Apple products are getting better for the time. Professionals don't have to buy very high end Macs to do their job except those in video production and even the much condemned FCPX is now better han ever and with third party support it can only get better.

Look at the latest iPhoto, I have seen the death of Adobe and look at the latest app by Autodesk and I believe others will run ring around Illustrator. And all this can be done on the iPad and not a Mac.
post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Johnson turned out to be a tough executive to replace, as Apple spent months searching for his replacement. The company eventually hired John Browett, the CEO at European technology retailer Dixons, as its new head of retail.

Oh God no, Dixons have to be one of the worst tech stores (in the UK at least) out there.
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

It's truly unfortunate Apple now hates creative professionals these days, the people that stayed with the company when it was on the brink. The people that repeatedly showcase Apple products in movies and television, the people that show off their products on stage...

Now Apple turns it's back.

Creative professionals need an upgraded workstation, the processors are now available! We need matte screens! We need an OS that retains compatibility with our software!!!!

Sorry Mike. I know what you're saying, but Moses had to listen to a lot of that peeing and moaning from the Israelites as he drug their sorry a**es across the desert to a land of milk and honey.

Just don't take it personal. Apple doesn't hate you or other creative people. They have their hands full shipping tens of millions of products that sell to today's customers.

Apple can't live in the past like you'd want, there's no future there.
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post #13 of 56
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Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


Apple can't live in the past like you'd want, there's no future there.

The problem is they are not that smart to understand this simple truth.

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post #14 of 56
This is in the Biography. It's truly pathetic that you write a story on something that Ron Johnson addresses in the damn Biography; and no unlike the trumpeteers for Ron in this story, he doesn't take credit for it's creation and success as AI is alluding.

The Apple Store does not exist without Steve and Ron--who came onboard to work with Steve's Apple Store vision, not the other way around. The epiphany came early morning of the day they planned to show it to the Board [and Ron was very open and honest to credit Steve for willing to scrap what they planned and quickly see the merits of Ron's idea and redesign before showing the store to the Board].
post #15 of 56
Easily Josh Ong's best written article.
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #16 of 56
It's disappointing to see so many apple figure heads having left the company in the last 2-3 years, I hope the new guys have some vision as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

As great as Jobs vision was he had a lot of flawed ideas. His original name for the iMac sticks out. At least he knew when a better idea was being presented. I'd say that not not only makes him intelligent, but wise.

Everyone has a lot of flawed ideas, it's superfluous to point this out. One's major asset is always being intelligent enough to see when others' ideas are better and brave enough to accept that and disrupt what your company is doing wrong at that moment. Good call by the way on that ipad hd name...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Actually, investors kill companies. Look at HP.

It goes this way: investors invest in ideas and men, sometimes it makes huge money and you get a big company. Then investors grow cautious because now there is big money involved and they won't let "Steve Jobs-types" do whatever they want and "risk the company every year". The company "freezes" and over time you get HP.

Very well said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Sorry Mike. I know what you're saying, but Moses had to listen to a lot of that peeing and moaning from the Israelites as he drug their sorry a**es across the desert to a land of milk and honey.

Just don't take it personal. Apple doesn't hate you or other creative people. They have their hands full shipping tens of millions of products that sell to today's customers.

Apple can't live in the past like you'd want, there's no future there.

What a load of horse manure. So Tim Cook is Moses? There's a very valid claim that apple are alienating a vast number of its creative user base and that they should be doing something about it, I have a few ideas on what they could be doing and I 've mentioned them here in the past. That's not living in the past, that's forging a vision for the future that does not simply entail selling boatloads but also shows care to maintain and foster apple's creative and disruptive core and the user base that goes along with this. Apple are, btw -lest anyone here still has any illusions, and I am sure a lot have- currently being enormously successful due to the planning, vision and decision making of Steve and some of the very talented people he surrounded himself with, BUT apple is also successful to the colossal LACK of vision, planning and foresight of its tech rivals. It's not only that apple was very good at what it did, it was also that others where incredibly stupid in seeing a larger picture and a way forward.

The tech companies are full of people who are great in coding or hardware engineering away but not good at all in terms of seeing the larger picture, let alone aesthetics, and their ceo's are even worse. When you have Schmidt from google say a few years ago that a tablet with a mobile os is just a big phone, you realize immediately that this guy is an idiot when it comes to having any creative vision for computers and how people can use them, he just doesn't get it, he doesn't understand how holding a book like device next to your head (a movement so engrained in our daily life) with a touch interface that creates such a multitude of interaction possibilities will be a revolutionary product if done right hardware wise with an 100% possibility. Neither did Balmer get it. And of course forget the asians all together in terms of creative visions, samsung, ts ts ts...

So essentially Steve (and co.) was not only being very wise and visionary in his product choices and planning, as well as in incorporating digital media (audio, video, books, music, podcasts, etc.) and forging a retail plan but he also had collosal morons mostly as competitors, or at least those that had comparable financial clout to compete with apple. They were repeatedly caught with their pants down and havent managed to forge a successful strategy for their companies since in so many respects.

The fact that even amazon can, with their limited tech resources (albeit though with their content also it has to be said) carve a niche of 17% in the tablet market is a testament to how incredibly inept both microsoft and google have been. Both of who should and could have very easily a. bought up some hardware manufacturing segment and/or partnered close enough with one and b. polished their os's and digital markets and created a simple line of integrated effective tech products possibly not as ms or google, but by rebranding them with a brand name
that could compete with apple on what apple had to offer (aesthetic soundness of products, integrated software and hardware systems and robust digital media content). If they wanted to really compete and they were not merely satisfied, one with their enormous search profits, and the other with their it business side.

But that was the past, the future in unknown to everyone of us, apple could go on autopilot for 5 years shunning their creative user base, becoming the popular company everyone loves and selling tons to consumers (instead of prosumers or pros)... or their competitors could wise up, and bring something comparable to the table, and branded properly, and then apple having alienating their creative user base, and also being the company a lot of people love to hate could see a huge backlash against them. Who knows.
post #17 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

This is in the Biography. It's truly pathetic that you write a story on something that Ron Johnson addresses in the damn Biography; and no unlike the trumpeteers for Ron in this story, he doesn't take credit for it's creation and success as AI is alluding.

The Apple Store does not exist without Steve and Ron--who came onboard to work with Steve's Apple Store vision, not the other way around. The epiphany came early morning of the day they planned to show it to the Board [and Ron was very open and honest to credit Steve for willing to scrap what they planned and quickly see the merits of Ron's idea and redesign before showing the store to the Board].

i guess this will again end up in discussions on how Steve was stealing ideas. In a large company, ideas come from everywhere, and after the debate has transformed/refined the original idea, it is often difficult to credit the originator. But one thing is for sure : the boss has to make the final decision, especially when it implies to "start all over again ...". This decision making responsibility is the key one.

To me, this is the point that differentiates Apple from other companies : the Boss accepts full responsibility (does not delegate) and even presents the product himself on stage.

In such a situation, it is clear he is personnally involved in all key decisions, and furthermore, anybody working on the product know they will hear from the Boss if something goes wrong. This makes, a big, very big difference, as opposed to companies where the Boss delegates everything, wants to be credited for success, but blame others in case of failure ...
post #18 of 56
Quote:
According to Johnson, Jobs subsequently walked into a team meeting and said, "Ron thinks this store is all wrong, and he's right. We're going to start over.'"

That's what made Ron and Steve great: Ron willing to step on toes. Steve willing to do the right thing. The retail stores they built kick so much ass...Microsoft copied it.

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post #19 of 56
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Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

But aren't Apple stores currently organized around individual products? Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads & accessories are all in their own sections of each Apple Store. Sounds like Steve's original vision is what we have today, unless I am missing something.

Most of those didn't exist in 2000.
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post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

It's disappointing to see so many apple figure heads having left the company in the last 2-3 years, I hope the new guys have some vision as well.

Which executives besides Ron Johnson have left recently? Most of the executives have been there for a long time. Eddy Cue and Jony Ive are 20+ year veterans and pre-date Steve's return. Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall came over with Steve and Tim Cook and Jeff Williams were hired shortly there after. There aren't many newbies in Apple's executive ranks.
post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

That's what made Ron and Steve great: Ron willing to step on toes. Steve willing to do the right thing. The retail stores they built kick so much ass...Microsoft copied it.

what I got from Isaacson's book was if you challenged Steve hard and you were right he'd eventually come round to your way of thinking. Especially is you were someone who had earned his respect. And no doubt Steve had highi regard for Ron Johnson.
post #22 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post

Yes, whatever the cost .. (start all over again ...). Impossible in a "normal" company ...

Exactly. A "normal" company would commission focus groups and lots of surveys and still get it all wrong.
post #23 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

As great as Jobs vision was he had a lot of flawed ideas. His original name for the iMac sticks out. At least he knew when a better idea was being presented. I'd say that not not only makes him intelligent, but wise.

Not many people realise it but Jobs was able to corral a massive number of people, not just by charisma or emotionally bashing people over the head.

In the end he was able to build a company that "builds itself", as he always wanted.

Check out this video about Next, and while Steve definitely seems characteristically annoyed in some scenes, he does cop a lot of stuff from his team. And this was when he was in his 30's. By the time he came back to Apple, he was further down the track in both leading and facilitating. Yeah, a tough guy to work with, but Steve certainly did some things right in terms of leading people. Walt Mossberg chuckled when Steve said "the best ideas win" and "we have great arguments"... But I think some of that is definitely true:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOlqqriBvUM
post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

what I got from Isaacson's book was if you challenged Steve hard and you were right he'd eventually come round to your way of thinking. Especially is you were someone who had earned his respect. And no doubt Steve had highi regard for Ron Johnson.

Indeed. From the book, it looked like Steve was a kind of guy that you either got along with or hated. If you got along with him and he respected you, then things happen. Otherwise, no dice.
post #25 of 56
Well his original idea sure has strayed away from creative professionals.
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post #26 of 56
Is no one going to comment on Johnson's new JC Penny campaign? Seriously, while the Apple Stores are genius, I don't see his new JC Penny campaign making any difference in that market. With Apple you have unique, amazing products. With JC Penny you have clothes you can get anywhere. I'm amazed he bailed out of Apple to go work for JC Penny.
post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyguy209 View Post

Is no one going to comment on Johnson's new JC Penny campaign? Seriously, while the Apple Stores are genius, I don't see his new JC Penny campaign making any difference in that market.

Do you know anything about that market? Granted, many of us wouldn't imagine leaving Apple for JCPenney, and many of us pay very close attention to Apple and its markets (though probably don't even know those as well as Apple does)...I don't really know much of anything about the retail department store market. I have no idea what would work or not. I bet Ron Johnson does though. After all he's worked in it for a very long time.

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post #28 of 56
The brilliance of Jobs was attracting and motivating brilliant people who made Apple what is today. However, it doesn't follow that Ron Johnson will be turn JC Penny into an Apple success story. Apple sells a few handfuls of unique and innovative technology products while JC Penny is a venerable department store chalk full of stuff and you buy the same stuff at other department stores or online. I'm sure he'll able to streamline, organize and make a more appealing presentation but it's kind of like putting lipstick on a very old pig - perhaps he'll keep the brand chain alive longer but nobody will much care.
post #29 of 56
Originally Posted by Mike Fix
Quote:
It's truly unfortunate Apple now hates creative professionals these days, the people that stayed with the company when it was on the brink. The people that repeatedly showcase Apple products in movies and television, the people that show off their products on stage...


Originally quoted by myapplelove
Quote:
What a load of horse manure ...

It strikes me that there may a middle position to the two so admirably put forth here.

With respect to Macky the Macky contention that Apple means no onus to creative professionals (with respect to their present resolve to mass-produce solutions for the planet), I admire his ironic twist of phrase Apple can't live in the past like you'd want, there's no future there. However in fairness I'm not sure that Mike Fix nor myapplelove actually pines for Apple to resume their prior role from the past. However, the essence of the post, that Apple can't live in the past, there's no future there is so succinct that it is unabashedly brilliant for its brevity (I think I'll steal it for my own future use).

On the other hand, unless I seriously misinterpret the thrust of their assertions (to attempt my own somewhat contrite turn of phrase) Macky the Mack and applelove are also pointing out a parallel truth embedded in what Macky the Mack said namely, that Apple's present is, in large part, due to their past.

Put another way, it is precisely Apple's legacy its heritage as a technological leader catering to creative professionals that helped to create the culture at Apple which gave birth to their ability to build a better mousetrap. Granted myapplelove's excellent points that Apple's superiority was in turn heightened by a woeful lack of innovation and attention to passionate detail on the part of their competitors but it should be also be pointed out that the dismal performance of everyone else would not have been apparent were it not for the rise of someone like Apple in building the better mousetrap with the world subsequently beating a path to its door.

Without a missionary (i.e., Apple) to show the natives (i.e., the digital consumers) how miserable their life is without air-conditioning (i.e., Apple solutions), the natives would happily continue living in the sweltering heat (i.e., MicroSoft, et al.), oblivious to the advantages otherwise possible.

This, together with the fact that the Apple's present is largely possible because of their past (together with a good amount of serendipity thrown in), makes a strong case for the old maxim You need to dance with who brung ya. Not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but I hear Mike Fix and myapplelove suggesting that it is precisely this internal core of excellence (consisting of creative professionals at Apple creating for creative professionals outside of Apple) that is the tail that ultimately wags the dog. When this tail ceases to exist (or at least stops wagging) because the body at large is preoccupied with shipping concerns, it may be time to at least take a look at your hole card.

Certainly with a war chest the size of Apple's, it would seem at least plausible that Apple would want to consider continued funding of professionally-targeted cutting-edge research, so that the trickle-down could continue to feed the tsunami effect it helped engender.

It is reasonable that any company, Apple or otherwise, is at best a collection of dynamic tensions that pull and push in disparate directions. Even a strong leader like Steve Jobs will inevitably allow a small front to form on the most hallowed of creative grounds (e.g., the lack of MacPro development, Mac-Server technology, Final Cut Pro X, etc.) as opposed to incremental gaffs that have little or nothing to do with the core (e.g., iPhone 4 antenna problems, Ping, MobileMe, etc.).

I think the concern here is that, with the passing of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and others need to be especially attuned to dance with who brung 'em. Not that an opportunistic debutante couldn't or shouldn't try to better their position on the dance floor and leave with a brighter prospect than the one they showed up with. It's just that all too often, the betterment is done at the expense (and rejection) of the original escort, when it's all too unnecessary.

If the debutante is wrong, not only is their future now fraught with heartaches and heartbreaks, it's a long walk home from the dance in the dark.
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post

Indeed. From the book, it looked like Steve was a kind of guy that you either got along with or hated. If you got along with him and he respected you, then things happen. Otherwise, no dice.

If Steve respected you and thought you had the smarts then you would work well together (even if Steve could still be brutal at times). Steve didnt hire Eddy Cue or Jony Ive but they were clearly two people he respected. From various things Ive read about Apple Eddy was considered Steves go-to Mr. Fix It guy. And of course Jony became one of his best friends. In Adam Lashinskys book he mentioned that only 4 Apple employees attended Steves burial service. Eddy and Jony were two, the other two were Tim Cook and Katie Cotton.
post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Good call by the way on that ipad hd name...:

I thought it sounded good, but I certainly didn't demand it.

I noticed none of your justified demands didn't pan out. I guess it's time for you get that sleazy lawyer a retainer so you can sue Apple for damages.

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post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

It's truly unfortunate Apple now hates creative professionals these days, the people that stayed with the company when it was on the brink.

Yep, how dare Apple be a public company with shareholders that demand that Apple make money and tons of it

As for the hate comment, there is a vast difference between hate and not keeping you on he top pedestal. If they truly hated you they would have just dropped the Mac Pro, all pro apps, plug in support, support for third party monitors etc.

You aren't their key focus anymore know that the family has more kids. And yet you still think as the oldest you are the only important one and your parents should just dump your siblings off on the side of the road and go back to spoiling you. Perhaps the issue isn't Apple, but your 'me me' bratty attitude

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyguy209 View Post

Is no one going to comment on Johnson's new JC Penny campaign? Seriously, while the Apple Stores are genius, I don't see his new JC Penny campaign making any difference in that market. With Apple you have unique, amazing products. With JC Penny you have clothes you can get anywhere. I'm amazed he bailed out of Apple to go work for JC Penny.

I hated the old buy one get second one half off sales tactic that JCPenney used to have. I was shopping less at JCP and more at Kohl's. Now I have noticed that Kohl's has started buy one get second one half off. That will keep me from shopping at Kohl's.
post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyguy209 View Post

Is no one going to comment on Johnson's new JC Penny campaign? Seriously, while the Apple Stores are genius, I don't see his new JC Penny campaign making any difference in that market. With Apple you have unique, amazing products. With JC Penny you have clothes you can get anywhere. I'm amazed he bailed out of Apple to go work for JC Penny.

Its called money, plus the challenge. Apple is doing extremely well and is a large ship on course and moving right along, JCPenny is a ship that needs to be righted, but here's the rub did Apple do well because of him or would've it done just as well without him?
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post #35 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by meh 2 View Post

Originally Posted by Mike Fix



Originally quoted by myapplelove


It strikes me that there may a middle position to the two so admirably put forth here.

With respect to Macky the Macky contention that Apple means no onus to creative professionals (with respect to their present resolve to mass-produce solutions for the planet), I admire his ironic twist of phrase Apple can't live in the past like you'd want, there's no future there. However in fairness I'm not sure that Mike Fix nor myapplelove actually pines for Apple to resume their prior role from the past. However, the essence of the post, that Apple can't live in the past, there's no future there is so succinct that it is unabashedly brilliant for its brevity (I think I'll steal it for my own future use).

On the other hand, unless I seriously misinterpret the thrust of their assertions (to attempt my own somewhat contrite turn of phrase) Macky the Mack and applelove are also pointing out a parallel truth embedded in what Macky the Mack said namely, that Apple's present is, in large part, due to their past.

Put another way, it is precisely Apple's legacy its heritage as a technological leader catering to creative professionals that helped to create the culture at Apple which gave birth to their ability to build a better mousetrap. Granted myapplelove's excellent points that Apple's superiority was in turn heightened by a woeful lack of innovation and attention to passionate detail on the part of their competitors but it should be also be pointed out that the dismal performance of everyone else would not have been apparent were it not for the rise of someone like Apple in building the better mousetrap with the world subsequently beating a path to its door.

Without a missionary (i.e., Apple) to show the natives (i.e., the digital consumers) how miserable their life is without air-conditioning (i.e., Apple solutions), the natives would happily continue living in the sweltering heat (i.e., MicroSoft, et al.), oblivious to the advantages otherwise possible.

This, together with the fact that the Apple's present is largely possible because of their past (together with a good amount of serendipity thrown in), makes a strong case for the old maxim You need to dance with who brung ya. Not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but I hear Mike Fix and myapplelove suggesting that it is precisely this internal core of excellence (consisting of creative professionals at Apple creating for creative professionals outside of Apple) that is the tail that ultimately wags the dog. When this tail ceases to exist (or at least stops wagging) because the body at large is preoccupied with shipping concerns, it may be time to at least take a look at your hole card.

Certainly with a war chest the size of Apple's, it would seem at least plausible that Apple would want to consider continued funding of professionally-targeted cutting-edge research, so that the trickle-down could continue to feed the tsunami effect it helped engender.

It is reasonable that any company, Apple or otherwise, is at best a collection of dynamic tensions that pull and push in disparate directions. Even a strong leader like Steve Jobs will inevitably allow a small front to form on the most hallowed of creative grounds (e.g., the lack of MacPro development, Mac-Server technology, Final Cut Pro X, etc.) as opposed to incremental gaffs that have little or nothing to do with the core (e.g., iPhone 4 antenna problems, Ping, MobileMe, etc.).

I think the concern here is that, with the passing of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and others need to be especially attuned to dance with who brung 'em. Not that an opportunistic debutante couldn't or shouldn't try to better their position on the dance floor and leave with a brighter prospect than the one they showed up with. It's just that all too often, the betterment is done at the expense (and rejection) of the original escort, when it's all too unnecessary.

If the debutante is wrong, not only is their future now fraught with heartaches and heartbreaks, it's a long walk home from the dance in the dark.

Not to rain on your parade, but this shit is getting old.
post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Its called money, plus the challenge. Apple is doing extremely well and is a large ship on course and moving right along, JCPenny is a ship that needs to be righted, but here's the rub did Apple do well because of him or would've it done just as well without him?

I'm guessing it is mostly the challenge...and that he's a retail guy.

It sounds like it's what he likes to do. Apple is only partly a retail company, whereas that's all of what JCP does.

And...he's young. I suspect he felt he reached the peak of what he could do at Apple. Probably didn't envision himself sitting around Apple for 20 more years.

Finally...his success at Apple undoubtedly gave him great leverage in getting whatever retail job he wanted next. Strike while the iron is hot!

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post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post

Not many people realise it but Jobs was able to corral a massive number of people, not just by charisma or emotionally bashing people over the head.

In the end he was able to build a company that "builds itself", as he always wanted.

Check out this video about Next, and while Steve definitely seems characteristically annoyed in some scenes, he does cop a lot of stuff from his team. And this was when he was in his 30's. By the time he came back to Apple, he was further down the track in both leading and facilitating. Yeah, a tough guy to work with, but Steve certainly did some things right in terms of leading people. Walt Mossberg chuckled when Steve said "the best ideas win" and "we have great arguments"... But I think some of that is definitely true:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOlqqriBvUM

Watching that video was interesting... especially seeing Steve looking so young...

He mentioned a classroom full of kids using Apple ][s -- he said 3-4th graders, but based on the dates I suspect that it was Saratoga High School's Computer lab -- installed in 1980 and about 4 miles from Apple HQ.

It brought back memories of that era...

-- no internet or www
-- no WiFi
-- no cell phones
-- a $3,000 computer then, is equivalent to $10,000-$15,000 in today's dollars
-- very few practical LANs, WANs or networks of any stripe (too limited and too expensive)
-- 5Meg external HDDs costing $5,000

A personal computer, was pretty much an island unto itself -- with, maybe a boustrophedonic dot-matrix printer and a 300-2,400 bits/second dial-up modem (thats 240 chars/bytes per second max).

When we sold our Computer stores (1989), the ComputerLands, BusinessLands and most other chains/franchises had had their day and faded or disappeared.

We were the oldest retail Apple reseller in California (maybe the US) except for one Store, di-no Computers -- they opened in 1978, a few months before us. My Dad bought his Apple ][ from Sal Cordero the owner (about a month before I bought mine in Sunnyvale).

Oddly, the Di-No store is still in business at the same location:

di-no.computers

If you look at the map at the top of the page:



In the upper left, where the word Pasadena appears under the 210 Freeway badge -- is the approximate location of the Pasadena Apple Store -- about 3 miles from di-no... (di-no is a contraction of the names of Sal's daughters: Diane and Noreen).


The Apple store opened in 2004:

Quote:
"We're so excited to be in Old Pasadena," Ron Johnson of Apple said. "We've been eyeing Pasadena, but we were waiting to find a good location.'

What pleases me is that the Apple Store can co-exist with an independent reseller, like Di-No;


I suspect that is because both di-no and Apple are more interested in creating [repeat] customers -- than just pushing product!
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post #38 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Which executives besides Ron Johnson have left recently? Most of the executives have been there for a long time. Eddy Cue and Jony Ive are 20+ year veterans and pre-date Steve's return. Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall came over with Steve and Tim Cook and Jeff Williams were hired shortly there after. There aren't many newbies in Apple's executive ranks.

Maybe he's lamenting the loss of that Papermaster fellow.
post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by sportyguy209 View Post

Is no one going to comment on Johnson's new JC Penny campaign? Seriously, while the Apple Stores are genius, I don't see his new JC Penny campaign making any difference in that market. With Apple you have unique, amazing products. With JC Penny you have clothes you can get anywhere. I'm amazed he bailed out of Apple to go work for JC Penny.

The campaign has just begun. Wait until the stores have been reconfigured and make your judgements then. Target also just sold 'clothes you can get anywhere' and yet Ron Johnson was able to do something unique there.
post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

It's truly unfortunate Apple now hates creative professionals these days, the people that stayed with the company when it was on the brink. The people that repeatedly showcase Apple products in movies and television, the people that show off their products on stage...

Now Apple turns it's back.

Creative professionals need an upgraded workstation, the processors are now available! We need matte screens! We need an OS that retains compatibility with our software!!!!

Yeah, Apple demonstrated that hate by spending several years (and mega bucks) rethinking and rewriting Final Cut pro apps from the ground up -- you know they just did that to piss you off!

Oddly, they have been able to update FCP X 3 times in 6 months -- where the existing FCP was bloated old code that would get a few feature additions, maybe every 12-18 months.

From what I am seeing and reading FCP X and Motion 5 are pulling equal to or surpassing the same features of the old "pro" FCP Studio...

Things like multicam and pulling keys are better than their FCP predecessors and, maybe, anything else available.

Lots of 3rd-party plugins are being published at a fraction of the old prices.

I could go on -- but you seem to want to wallow in self-pity that Apple doesn't give you exactly what you want when you want it.

Let me add my pity to yours...
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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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