At 11:30pm on a Thursday night, “in a sea of vacant office parks, the lights are on in a squat and entirely unnoteworthy building in Sunnyvale, California — and the parking lot is packed full,” Nicole Nguyen writes for Buzzfeed. “Inside, scores of Apple engineers are huddled around, chattering about server loads. A collection of monitors is mounted on the wall, flashing charts, numbers, and graphs. Preorders for Apple’s newly announced iPhone 8 are about to begin, and this is the company’s ‘war room’ — mission control for a massive one-night retail operation that sees a deluge of sales. Everyone is dressed comfortably for an all-nighter, yellow security bands on their wrists — everyone, that is, except Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail. She’s running the show.”

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's Senior Vice President Retail and Online Stores

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores

“At midnight, the war room’s server activity chart ticks abruptly from green to red under a flood of incoming iPhone orders. On the wall, blinking red lights begin flashing across a digital world map with a concentrated flurry of activity in China and South Asia,” Nguyen writes. “Apple won’t disclose how many orders came through that night (the company hasn’t published actual preorder numbers for the past two years). But it’s a lot. Ahrendts remains in the trenches until 3 a.m., floating between the groups, making sure everyone is fired up, like a politician on election night. She smiles and shakes hands the whole time.”

“Ahrendts is often credited with turning the flailing Burberry brand around; in her seven years as CEO, she tripled the company’s market value. She is now Apple’s highest-ranking woman, in charge of about 50% of the company’s workforce: 65,000 retail employees, in addition to real estate, operations, contact center, and online store teams. Even early in her tenure at Apple, she drew attention: In 2013, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted, ‘I just saw Future Apple CEO @AngelaAhrendts on her farewell Burberry tour! The most important hire Tim Cook has ever made!” Nguyen writes. “Last year, Apple reported ‘double-digit growth’ in retail store visitors and revenue, while online sales reportedly grew 40% year-over-year, with $16.8 billion in revenue, ahead of Walmart, during that same period. According to Ahrendts’s most recent keynote appearance, there are also a lot of visitors: Over 500 million people visit its stores every year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck in brick-and-morter retail because you’re going to need it!

Even we avoid Apple Retail Stores… er, Apple locations, nowadays. It’s usually a hassle. It’s often crowded. It takes too much time.

We understand the idea behind dropping the “store” and focusing on helping with products/services and education (photography, music, etc.), we’re just not that compelled. Perhaps we’re not in the target audience; after all, we know how to use our Apple products already.

Just for the convenience alone, we prefer to preorder online and have our devices delivered to our doors on launch day.

Angela Ahrendts is Cook’s best hire to date. Plus, if he, God forbid, ever got hit by a bus, she could slide right into the CEO position. Of that, we have no doubt. Ahrendts’ track record is stellar. Having two world-class CEOs in the executive suite should give Apple shareholders a strong sense of security. Just as Jobs had Cook, Cook has Ahrendts.MacDailyNews, September 10, 2015

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is prepping his successors; here’s who they could be – October 25, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]