Angela Ahrendts’ first memo to Apple Retail employees

“After being on the job for approximately a month and a half, new Apple Senior VP of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts has sent her first memo to Apple Retail employees,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac. “In the memo, Ahrendts discusses Apple’s culture, her visits to stores thus far, and her plans for the future.”

“‘I have spent most of my time getting to know and understand the many functions and teams in Cupertino, along with our short and long term initiatives. I was thrilled to meet many of you at stores in San Francisco and London this month, and I’m looking forward to Tokyo and the Omotesando opening,’ Ahrendts said,” Gurman reports. “‘Every couple of weeks, we will be visiting stores across the world to see and learn what we do best and hear your thoughts about opportunities ahead,’ she added.”

“‘Looking forward to the future, I feel our greatest opportunity will be continuing to focus on and evolve the consumer journey online and in our stores. Although technology is rapidly changing how customers shop, they will still want to feel surprised and delighted by the personalized Apple experience we provide at every turn,’ Ahrendts wrote,” Gurman reports. “‘That’s what makes us unique. Keeping the customer experience as simple as any other Apple product will also be critical as we expand into new markets, integrate our platforms, and develop new technologies,’ she added… ‘I know together we will continue to enrich lives and communities.'”

More info and the full text of Ahrendts’ memo in the full article here.

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

122 Comments

      1. Actually Browett did write a similar memo when he started at Apple. It was just was not widely distributed to the media. However, after a little searching on the net I found it:

        Dear Apple Retail Staff,

        I have spent most of my time getting to know and understand the many functions and teams in Cupertino and visiting Apple Stores in Britain and the States. What I’ve learned during this time is that this company wastes lots of money.

        Looking forward to the future, I feel our greatest opportunity will be to focus on evolving the consumer journey so we get the rubes’ money and get them out the door as quickly as possible. We need to model ourselves on that great retailer, Best Buy. That means we need to strive to have less staff per square foot of store that Best Buy has. We also need our staff to have the same level of knowledge as Best Buy salespeople, which means we are eliminating all training programs.

        Also, our stores are much too boring. We need more products. Therefore, beginning next month we will add a few product lines to our stores including shavers, hair dryers, washing machines, and crockpots. I anticipate this will greatly help our bottom line.

        Finally, to reduce store expenses we are replacing our Apple Genius staff with former employees of Popeye’s Chicken. I figure knowing how to make good fried chicken is more valuable to people visiting our stores than some geek with computer knowledge.

        In conclusion, I look forward to meeting as many of your as possible before you are fired in the next cost cutting effort.

        I love you all, John.

        1. Especially when you saw the results of his previous job, hardly a wonderful experience though even worse these days having walked out last week having spent ages simply waiting to buy a bloody kettle at an exorbitant price. Mind you it did improve my shopping experience in the end as I went down the road and bought something just as good for a third less.

          1. ‘It pays to shop around’ AND If they abuse you at one place, you can bet there’s someone else who’d actually enjoy having your business. That’s what actual free enterprise is about.

            Ya hear that Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable ad nauseam?

            1. Do you ever get tired if being an ass? It seems like a pretty serious character flaw at this point. There are a lot of great therapists out there who can help you work through things.

        1. You being so deeply conditioned by the patriarchal rape culture might actually believe that but you are wrong.
          Any sexual feelings or desires by a man is oppression against woman.
          /s

            1. The excellence of your observation has been acknowledged by botvinnik. Well done, fledgling; I fought for a hundred years for such a scrap of recognition.

            2. Sean-

              I don’t understand your contempt for Botty. But you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

              His razor sharp nano-second analysis leaves me in awe at times.

              The delivery of that analysis may not always be in PC warm and fuzzy tones. And, he is not afraid to take on the clueless in forceful fashion.

              So what?

              The knowledge Botty provides is power …

            3. GoeB… I have zero desire for him to be “PC warm and fuzzy”. I would celebrate neutral presentation of information, rather than the frequently viscously nasty crap he spouts such as:
              – fuck you
              – you’re an idiot
              – you are mentally ill
              and much, much more along those lines.

              When he goes off, you’ll frequently see that others feel similarly.

              His poison filled arrogance is particularly ironic because his political thinking presents nothing special. Both parties serve the ultra-rich. Ooh – startling news.

              My contempt for him is similar to my contempt for a wife batterer. The fact that the wife-batterer can come out with literary references or a clever turn of phrase does nothing to balance the fundamental nastiness and worthlessness of the violent personality.

              re
              “And, he is not afraid to take on the clueless in forceful fashion.”
              – If you mean “take on” as in the sense of educating, that’s not what he is doing. No-one responds to being shit on by an arrogant prick. So he is completely failing there – and will… forever.
              If you mean “take on and defeat” — well, he’s just way too full of himself, and, perhaps, confusing DEFEATING a person with contradicting an incorrect idea.

              In neither case is there any need for or excuse for his crappy nastiness.

            4. Well, we see it differently.

              I appreciate Botty’s wisdom and for better or worse, overlook the delivery of that wisdom.

              Whether filled with expletives, put downs or politics is of no interest to me.

              What is of interest is insightful knowledge.

              Don’t expect you to agree. It is what is …

            5. re “Whether filled with expletives, put downs or politics is of no interest to me.”

              I think you might feel differently if face to face.
              – If he were a guest at your dinner party and he spoke to you like that (repeatedly) I don’t think he’d be invited back.
              – If you were his boss and he talked to you like that, I suspect he’d be fired.
              – And if you are not the dinner party sort, the consequences to him might be worse… like smashing his teeth in.

              If you, personally, wouldn’t react in any of those ways, I tend to think most people would.
              No social or business circle I’ve ever moved in would put up with such repeated, crude, nasty personal attacks.

            6. Commenting on blogs is a world apart from the day to day face to face REAL world. You know that.

              So in that regard your post is of little value.

              Hurling insults at someone hurling insults is the SAME thing. Not productive on either side.

              Since he will never stop and personally I’m in favor of that, it seems you only have two choices.

              1) Give as good as you get.

              2) Ignore.

              The sun will come up in the morning …

            7. I’m in favour of the sun coming up in the morning, for all that. The Crusades settled nothing in the middle ages, and similar crusades seem destined to settle nothing now.

    1. This is a perfect example of the struggle women face in the business world. Instead of having a debate about the merits of her actions, we’re telling grade school jokes about her unzipping your pants. Grow up.

      1. hahahahaha, yes! I admit it! It is I, M. Botvinnik, THE oppressor of the working woman! I must be stopped! I must be reprogrammed to find women undesirable! Stop the madness! Peacocks and peahens must all live in separate dormitories! STOP THE MADNESS NOW!!

      1. hon, appendice is not a word…appendices as a plural of appendix is acceptable. Perhaps you were searching for the word appendage?

        appendage |əˈpendij|
        noun
        (often with negative or pejorative connotations) a thing that is added or attached to something larger or more important: they treat Scotland as a mere appendage of England.
        • Biology a projecting part of an invertebrate or other living organism, with a distinct appearance or function: many species have specialized clutching appendages.

          1. Sorry, no. I’m sorry you don’t like ChrissyOne as I’ve always gotten along with him.

            YOU, however, don’t like getting along with much of anyone, do you. Ever asked yourself why? And why the cowardice? What’s with you? Are you in love with me? There’s the scariest thought, Gene, Jerkoff or whatever you are.

          1. On second thought, we do have knights outfitted with chain mail and broadswords, beheading trolls left and right. None, perhaps, with quite the verve of the one-nutted bastard offspring of Ballmer, Duke of Redmond.

  1. Fluff. Once the stores were staffed with really knowledgable people who could answer questions correctly, not guessing answers that were, by their very nature, always wrong. Whenever a customer knows more about the products inside an Apple retail store than the employees in cute t-shirts, we’ve lost still another feature of the once great company now lost in the darkness of the Tim Cook era.

    1. That would be a serious problem. The point is, Apple’s retail customers are, on the average, significantly more knowledgeable than, say, Best Buy’s retail customers. Now, Best Buy’s retail staff posses literally NO knowledge whatsoever about the product they are selling (but frequently pretend to know, which successfully deceives many unsuspecting customers). Apple retail staff actually do have varying degrees of knowledge about Apple products/services. The problem is that for many Apple customers, that degree of knowledge may be insufficient for a pleasant experience.

      Still, for vast majority of Apple Store customers, the staff there is significantly more knowledgeable than at ANY other retail outfit.

    1. Apparently, her predecessor didn’t bother with such a memo. Nor did he bother with actually visiting stores, interviewing staff there and basically, reviewing customer experience in the field.

      By reading between the lines, you can figure out a lot. And this memo does tell a few good things.

  2. I suspect most of the postings on MDN are from men, but certainly not all. The central question seems to be whether botvinnik’s “joke” is offensive to most women or do they find it funny? If you have respect for one another, you have to take into account how they would feel about your “joke” before you post it. If you don’t give a damn how they feel, you have a right in this country to be offensive and hurtful. For me, it’s hard to respect any opinion from someone who talks about women in a crude and disrespectful manner. But that’s just me.

    Maybe some of MDN’s female readers will weigh in. Or maybe they don’t think it’s worth commenting about. We shall see.

    1. “you have a right in this country to be offensive and hurtful.” I agree, you do have a ‘right’ to this demeaning behaviour, however, you certainly don’t have an obligation. This botvinnik character appears not to know the difference.

      1. Oh, he is very well aware of the difference. If he were not, he might get 50/50 on the good/crap scale. The volume of small-minded, derogatory remarks he makes shows a great love of being a jerk.

    2. “For me, it’s hard to respect any opinion from someone who talks about women in a crude and disrespectful manner.”

      You’d understand if you ever met his wife. 😉

      1. You ever heard of the Bobwahr clan from out east of Pampa? Well, I married the third oldest daughter, Betty Lou..I’ve seen this woman suck natural gas straight outta Permian Basin gravel. She’d whoop your nancy-boy ass for the price of a box of Tampons. Don’t ever insult my gal, Betty Lou Bobwahr.

        Ever.

  3. Well, being a frequent reader of MDN, I find it embarrassing that some of you have lowered your standards to junior high boys making lewd comments about the hottie substitute teacher. Make no mistake, Ahrendts is an attractive woman, but she is also scary smart. She may be the best hire at Apple Retail since Ron Johnson and she is well positioned to move Apple stores and the online experience even farther ahead of its competition. Tim Cook is doing EXACTLY what Steve Jobs did before him. He is finding the very best talent in the pockets of industry where Apple needs to lead. She was a great choice for this position and I am certain she will make waste of every other electronics retailer in business today. And all that has NOTHING to do with her looks.

    1. I appreciate your remarks, which show admirable sensitivity. As a woman, I take a slightly different view, as might be expected. Women do face obstacles in certain professions, as with someone like me in male-overrun computer science, but Angela prospered in a gender-favourable fashion industry where she earned her stripes.

      The genius of Tim Cook’s hire of Ahrendts is in his understanding of Apple’s dependence on cachet, something most closely associated with fashion and aspirational spending. These items engage consumers emotionally and they open wallets and purses almost without effort. This happens at the higher end of income, to be sure, but that is the mother lode of merchandising. Android and its ilk are down at the bottom of the sluice box sifting the tailings.

      Excitement begins with a toss of the skirt and a glimpse of ankle, and the collective imagination runs wild. The best merchandising is sexy. Apple proves that, over and over again.

      1. Genius and Tim Cook don’t belong in a sentence together. Time will tell, but if Cook hired her, there is a good chance she will be incompetent like he is. Time for both Cook and Ive to be fired.

        1. Excellent points, joe. They are just as valid as mine. We can check back a year from now to see how the whole deal played out. I’m the optimist, you’re the pessimist. Neither of us has put actual money on either scenario —we’re both just blowing smoke — so neither of us can lose.

      2. no, no, no…Apple isn’t dependent on cachet or fashion or any of that fluff. They’ve made their mark through bringing to market the most innovative consumer electronics in the world. Consumers are “engaged” because the effectively marketed tools simply work as advertised. Apple’s so-called mystique and success has always emanated from their creativity making things…not some imagined drivel that sounds like this month’s editorial opinion in Vogue magazine.

        1. Well put, but Apple could stand to jazz up their ads, making them as delightful as the things they sell. If they did that, it would surely lure more customers and save them from cheapening their lives with junk.

      3. I agree with you. However, Steve Jobs possessed an incredible aesthetic sensibility, as does Ives and his design team. Clearly, Tim Cook understands the importance of this.
        As for the comments by this Botnivik character—what a sad little man. Yes, that’s an ad hominem comment of the kind he likely hears nighty on the cultural and moral vacuum that is Fox. His capacity to correct spelling and even look up definitions suggests some intellectual ability—sadly squandered.

        1. Note: my agreement was with Hannah. However, I agree with a part of Botnivik’s rely concerning the technical merit of Apple’s product being preeminent. However, Apple design always went beyond the ‘sufficient’ in technical design to the ‘elegant’. In terms Botnivik and his ilk can understand, think of it as not just owning a pickup truck to show just how manly you are but hanging truck nuts off the trailer hitch.

            1. First, your sentence makes no sense. Second, the words ‘racist male clueless cretin’ are yours not mine and should be written ‘ racist, clueless, male cretin’. Third, you miss the point ; it is the truck nuts that connote a certain mentality. Fourth, if your sister has a pickup with truck nuts, then that’s ironic, and it find that clever and amusing. Finally, these and Botvinnik’s comments really have nothing to do with Apple staff or Apple products. As far as I’m concerned, Botvinnik chooses, as evidenced by his contributions here, to be vulgar and uncouth (more is the pity if he’s actually intelligent). If he feels that improves his stature or his contributions, I beg to differ. His contributions are tiresome.

            1. however that will change by this evening as it is chess & beer night with the Polack lawyer. At the conclusion, I’ll probably consider the barmaid, Vanessa, to be more beautiful than Mona Lisa, David, Pietà or Sarah Brightman.

  4. well she needs to go to the Soho NY store. They are the worst . I go there for convenience , but they are dumber than dirt.I went there a while ago to buy a new iPhone and a new 26″ computer and was told nobody could help me. They were all busy, could I come back. First rule of business you NEVER turn anyone away

    1. Would you rather they had been dishonest and kept you waiting for an hour, while getting back to you every five minutes with, “We’ll be with you as soon as possible”?

  5. MDN — Please note this post…

    Botvinnik Daily News
    Thursday, June 12, 2014 – 5:56 pm
    “Just once I’d like to read the comments without it turning a pissing match with botvinnik.
    I’m out.”

    How long are you going to put up with the jerky, nasty comments on this site? (by FAR the worst offender being botvinnik)

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