And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
The report also noted that [Apple Retail VP John] Browett said Apple’s retail outlets need to “learn to ‘run leaner’ in all areas, even if the customer experience is compromised.”
During fiscal 2011, Apple’s retail stores generated $14.1 billion in revenue and $3.1 billion in profits. The chain has operated at around a 22 percent profit margin over the past five years
Were Steve Jobs alive and running the company, this guy would be gone before he got back from lunch. These sorts of paper gains that put the long game in hock to better favor a slight quarterly bump, all just ahead of what would appear to be the biggest, most important launch in the company’s history? Utter lunacy. You should be adding employees, my friend. The money involved is completely and utterly beside the point at your margins (and, no: forget Apple’s margins for the moment, I mean just the margins of the Store). Would the cuts even cover your own salary? Will they help you at your new job? I certainly hope so.
But here’s some unsolicited advice: the Apple Store isn’t a store like Best Buy. It’s equal measure retail operation and, critically, brand identity. The experience of it needs to be every bit as delightful as the latest iDingus. If it’s not, you’ve damaged the brand. And once that’s gone, it ain’t coming back at any price. I feel certain Apple would operate the store at break-even or as a slight loss leader; it’s more valuable as an icon and an experience than it is as a raw profit center churning out new doodads for the masses. Apparently Browett didn’t get the memo. Time will tell…but I’d say the Store is now officially the leading indicator for the company. As it goes, so goes Apple. When it starts seeming like Best Buy in there, sell short.
"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
"The problem is I’m older now, I’m 40 years old, and this stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t. I’m sorry, it’s true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time.[…] These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs. These things can profoundly influence life. I’m not downplaying that.
But it’s a disservice to constantly put things in this radical new light — that it’s going to change everything. Things don’t have to change the world to be important."
"Here we have the man who invented the personal computer, then the laptop. He’s now destroying them. That is an amazing life."
— Rupert Murdochon Steve Jobs. I’d quibble with the “invented” being more of a “popularized,” but otherwise spot on.
Equally amazing (to me, anyway) is that the transition from “let’s sell everyone personal computers” to “let’s sell everyone wireless things that people don’t really even realize are computers” took place within the span of one CEO’s lifetime, though not one continuous tenure with Apple (since we’re talking Jobs here).
Color me unimpressed with The Daily, though. Just the sort of crap magazine I avoid in print, much less on the iPad. Reeder is the really disruptive technology if you’re asking me. And I know you are.
"It doesn’t matter how amazing the steak is, if it’s served on a cold plate it’s crap. If it’s served with a dull knife it’s crap. If the gravy isn’t piping hot, it’s crap. If you’re eating it on an uncomfortable chair, it’s crap. If it’s served by an ugly waiter who just came in from a smoke break, it’s crap. Because I care about the steak, I have to care about everything around it."
Verizon is the perfect corporate partner for Apple. This is precisely how Steve Jobs himself would deal with a balky battery door. With a branded sticker. Accept no cheap substitutes; only Verizon-brand stickers give you the confidence today’s multitaskers demand.
Now, the thing about [“Meet the Beatles”] was, on the day [the album] hit the U.S. the whole world changed. Like, before that day, the world was one way, music was one way, culture was one way — and then after that day the world was never the same ever again, and as soon as you heard that album you knew that, and even if you were only nine years old, which I was, you just knew. You knew. Sales were crazy.
[…] there was a lot of demand for that record — so much that the plant that printed the records could not keep up. Now here’s the lesson. Do you think the guys who were running Capitol Records said, Gee whiz, the kids are buying up this record at such a crazy pace that our printing plant can’t keep up — we’d better find a way to slow things down. Maybe we can create an incentive that would discourage people from buying the record. Do you think they said that? No, they did not. What they did was, they went out and found another printing plant. And another one and another one, until they could make as many records as people wanted.
Absolutely goddamned right. AT&T’s metaphorical Meet the Beatles response to the iPhone data-deluge seems to be:
"we need to figure out a way to keep people out of record stores. Prevent them from entering, dissuade them from buying the records if they’re already in there. That is the winning formula.”
Which is precisely the reaction that puts AT&T out of business. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon (and for a long time). Back to (fake) Steve:
Yes, 3% of your users are taking up 40% of your bandwidth. You see this as a bad thing. It’s not. It’s a good thing. It’s a blessing. It’s an indication that people love what we’re doing, which means you now have a reason to go out and double or triple or quadruple your damn network capacity. Jesus! I can’t believe I’m explaining this to you. You’re in the business of selling bandwidth. That pipe is what you sell. Right now what the market is telling you is that you can sell even more! Lots more! Good Lord. The world is changing, and you’re right in the sweet spot.
Indeed they are. Reaction? Let’s piss it away for some modest, short-term gains. The model, you’ll recall, is to sell crippled phones that, since people can’t actually use, don’t tax our network at all. AT&T simply doesn’t understand that the world has turned and left them there, in the past, with a shitty flip phones business while everyone else is up here, in the “future,” waiting on good pipes. Praying someone will take their money for those (still mythical) good pipes. That AT&T doesn’t see it that way is mostly because of the sentence to which I added emphasis: AT&T doesn’t want to believe that they are only selling pipe. They think they are selling something else entirely. I’m quite sure they can’t vocalize exactly what that thing is, but they inevitably deny the notion that they are, in fact, already a dumb-pipes company, though a very bad one. And this is why they fail. They think their subscribers care who is providing them with the dumb pipes instead of how well the dumb pipes work. And it is on this point that (fake) Steve really, really gets going:
Guys like you took over the phone company and all you cared about was milking profit and paying off assholes in Congress to fuck over anyone who came along with a better idea, because even though it might be great for consumers it would mean you and your lazy pals would have to get off your asses and start working again in order to keep up.
[…] everyone focused on just getting what they can in the short run and who cares what kind of piece of shit product we’re putting out […and…] it was all about taking all this great shit that our predecessors had built and “unlocking value” which really meant finding ways to leech out whatever bit of money they could get in the short run and let the future be damned. It was all just one big swindle, and the only kind of engineering that matters anymore is financial engineering.
Empahsis added to point out (fake) Steve likely recapitulating the secret mission statement of AT&T. They sell pipes, for chrissakes. And yet they think it is in their interest to restrict and deny people access to those pipes, which said people feel they have contracted for access to and have every right to access. Worse, AT&T seems to feel this is a winning strategy. And maybe it is. For 2009, and even some of 2010. But 2011? Not so much. I guess Randall and his lot will have vested and retired to Nantucket by then.
That this sort of shit seems to be the organizing concept of American industry for the past half-century or so is, uh, totally unrelated and nothing to worry about, I’m sure. Fake Steve sums it up:
I had this vision of the future — a ruined empire, run by number crunchers, squalid and stupid and puffed up with phony patriotism, settling for a long slow decline.
Apple has been working on such a Swiss Army knife tablet since at least 2003, according to several former employees. One prototype, developed in 2003, used PowerPC microchips made by I.B.M., which were so power-hungry that they quickly drained the battery.
“It couldn’t be built. The battery life wasn’t long enough, the graphics performance was not enough to do anything and the components themselves cost more than $500,” said Joshua A. Strickland, a former Apple engineer whose name is on several of the company’s patents for multitouch technology.
Another former Apple executive who was there at the time said the tablets kept getting shelved at Apple because Mr. Jobs, whose incisive critiques are often memorable, asked, in essence, what they were good for besides surfing the Web in the bathroom.
Oh god I hope he really said that.
Me too, though I wonder what in the hell else he thinks it needs to do. Oh, right: tip-calculation, the hobgoblin of the lesser platforms since the dawn of mediocre service.
Steve Jobs all but introduces the upcoming Apple Tablet (hopefully the upcoming Macintosh tablet, but time will tell) in these quotes from an interview with David Pogue of the NYT:
There are some things that I’m focusing a lot of attention on right now—to polish
We have some really good stuff coming up.
Keep in mind, Jobs has previously stated that he considers most tablet-type computers to be, uh, shit. Additionally, we know that a number of pre-iPhones (for lack of a better term) died on the vine because one SPJ deemed them unworthy (he’s occasionally referred to these as their “best product decisions” or some similar construction: better to shitcan something bad than put it out there prematurely and sully the brand. Witness the Newton.
Likewise, he presages that this doodad will be far more than a reader:
I’m sure there will always be dedicated devices [like the Kindle], and they may have a few advantages in doing just one thing,” he said. “But I think the general-purpose devices will win the day. Because I think people just probably aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device.
Even if the tablet runs the iPhone OS, it will be a far more capable everything than Kindle is a reader. If it runs garden-variety Mac OS X, it will likely outperform many (or most) netbooks in terms of absolute utility. How could it not? People already get pretty good results hacking the Mac OS onto these devices. An optimized version, from Apple, would dominate the space assuming it was priced within, say, $100 of its most direct competitors (honestly, it’s hard to figure out what those are in a field pretty well suffused with crap).