“It surely wasn’t the first time someone called Steve Jobs crazy. Three years ago, the chief executive officer of Apple Computer stood in front of investment analysts and journalists to unveil Apple’s well-kept secret: it was jumping into the retail store business,” Timothy C. Barman writes for The Providence Journal.
“The timing raised eyebrows. Internet and other technology companies were doing poorly. The Nasdaq Composite Index had dropped 55 percent from its peak in 2000. Sales of personal computers were declining. And the only other computer maker with retail stores — Gateway — was imploding. ‘The whole group had one reaction,’ said Apple executive Ron Johnson. ‘Are you serious? Steve’s a pretty persuasive guy,’ Johnson said, ‘but I don’t think he convinced one person in that room,'” Barman writes.
“Johnson came to Apple at Jobs’ urging after a stint at retail giant Target. Johnson headed that company’s retail strategy and is credited with bringing stylishly designed, high-end products, such as the Michael Graves teapot, to the store at prices the average shopper could afford. He said he told Jobs that he didn’t want to create just another computer shop. Johnson’s challenge was to come up with something different,” Barman writes. “What he came up with was indeed unique. Unlike most retail outlets, Apple stores are sparse, open and have a feeling that’s more like a hands-on exhibit at a science museum. Only 25 percent of a store’s floor space is devoted to products, he said, such as the company’s popular iPod music player. Products are stocked, but they are kept in the back, out of view.”
“‘We wanted an atmosphere that was inviting, not intimidating, forward-looking, warm, interactive,’ he said. ‘And it makes you feel intelligent just by being there,'” Barman writes.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: “It surely wasn’t the first time someone called Steve Jobs crazy.” Nor will it be the last.