Steve Jobs flagrantly violated five retail rules with Apple Retail Stores

“Apple’s glass-cube stores have become as familiar as Subway sandwich shops. But when Steve Jobs opened the first in 2001, the retail venture was expected to fail,” Belinda Lanks writes for Businessweek. “‘I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,’ Apple’s former chief financial officer [sic], Joseph Goldstein, told BusinessWeek.”

MacDailyNews Note: Obviously, the vast majority of Apple retail Stores are not what anyone in their right mind would describe as “glass cube stores.” Also, David — not “Joseph” — Goldstein, was at the time of his quote the president of Channel Marketing Corp. Goldstein was never “Apple’s former chief financial officer.” Lanks is confusing him with former Apple CFO Joseph “We should put Apple up for sale” Graziano, who was also quite confused about Apple Retail Stores at the time.

“Apple has 423 stores, as of March, and it makes more money in sales per square foot—$4,551—than any other U.S.-based retailer, according to EMarketer RETAIL,” Lanks writes. “I talked recently with 8’s Tim Kobe—the designer who worked closely with Jobs to create the computer store’s iconic look—about how Apple changed the retail landscape. From that conversation, five lessons emerged as to what businesses can learn from Apple’s then-outlandish example.”

• Prototype far, far away.
• Avoid established partners.
• The product is not the most important thing.
• Obsess over the smallest details.
• Change it up.

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Mimicking Apple’s retail stores are only one piece of the puzzle that drive $5,000/sqft. Microsoft has tried to copy Apple’s store experience. Lipstick on a pig.

  2. I read this article last week and dismissed it because, although it has 5 lessons learned, it never fulfills the headline by listing the 5 rules that were broken.

    1. It’s a sign of the times, the original headline “Five Retail Rules Flagrantly Violated by the Apple Store” has been modified to “Steve Jobs flagrantly violated five retail rules with Apple Retail Stores.”

      It makes the violation much more personal although once again it also illustrates the inaccuracy of the “aim for Bin Laden hit Saddam Hussein” guidance system. Had an accurate guidance system been used the headline would have read something like “Steve Jobs flagrantly violates (Insert name(s) here) who cam up with five retail rules with Apple Retails Stores.”

      This inaccuracy appears to be of little or no concern just as long as there are the active headline words of “kill”, “bloodbath”, “shoots”, and of course Amurderca’s favorite “thermonuclear”, the last one popular no doubt because of that country’s claim to fame of being the only ones to use weapons of mass nuclear destruction on unarmed civilians.

      When it comes to Amurderca, Pillages and Rapes, it’s Mission Accomplished!

      Of course your point is spot on, the story does not deliver on the headline, another sign of the times. You would not read life supportive or life sustaining headline such as “Apple gives birth to new rules for retail” or “Apple breathes new life and rules with its retail store.” Such positive peaceful headlines would probably be viewed as treason, unpatriotic, it simply is not the Amurdercan way.

      1. Before the first bomb was dropped the Japanese people were prepared to fight to the end.

        After the first bomb was dropped and before the second bomb was dropped, the Japanese people were prepared to surrender.

        The second bomb was tested on the Japanese people needlessly.

        Ironically, even after two atomic bomb drops, many thousands of lives were saved when there was no hand to hand fight to the death.

        1. Far, far, far more people died in the disgusting firebombing of Tokyo and Osaka. Far more attention really should be put on the bombing of civilian populations.

          Pearl Harbor, on the other hand, was definitely a military target.

        2. “Before the first bomb was dropped the Japanese people were prepared to fight to the end.” At least that’s what they said, heck just look at the buffoons that went to the UN these days and whined about someone having weapons of mass destruction. Walking the walk is not the same as talking the talk.

          The irony is that there was no demonstration to the Japanese of the capacity of devastation from these weapons. Blowing up a couple of small uninhabited islands may have achieved the same effect and saved another 200,000 lives but hey why bother with that when you can kill kill kill. It’s the Amurdercan way.

        3. You can’t understand Hiroshima and Nagasaki unless you remember Berlin.
          I’ve heard two explanations about Nagasaki. One was that the Japanese were gambling that it would take months for America to make a second bomb. The other was that the emperor literally did not know how to surrender – as in what procedures and documents were the Americans expecting?

          And BTW, non-nuclear bombing campaigns at this point could produce damage similar to a nuclear bomb.

          1. Thanks for that insight Algr. I was familiar with the fire bombings (Dresden comes to mind) but your insight into the second bomb, and the inability of the Japanese to assemble a surrender is fascinating. Makes these sorts of exchanges a pleasure to come here.

        1. Less we forget. It goes back further than that of course. Don’t get me wrong I have absolutely no qualms and finger pointing at America about dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it happened a long time ago.

          The point is, and it seems that you missed it, is that no one has done it since.

          Gee Spark, I hope you are not a meth head, I hear that’s a nasty drug.

          Have a good one.

          1. I have long thought, since I was a wee one hearing my father declaim upon such topics, that Americans did give pause to the entire world then and now, for daring to use atomic weapons to cauterise a wounded world.

            I suppose Islamic militants pause in their nefarious calculations, allowing that the Americans, even crazier today, could turn the Saudi Arabian peninsula, Mecca along with it, into a sheet of glass should they tire of maggotry.

            That is, if terrorists were to employ game theory properly…thank Allah they are not the products of American schooling, in that case…and they do not cloud their minds with drink as do the Ukrainian puppets of Putin…

            1. I certainly agree with your father’s sentiments, that echo what Algr said, it certainly was a demonstration that put the end to many lives and yet saved many many more.

              There are two issues with what you brilliantly post, one is the nature of a perceived current enemy. I find it interesting to read through the MDN posts at the pot shots taken against nations that can be viewed as sitting targets, Finland (Nokia), China (Apple), South Korea (Samsung) but nothing really on the group that you mention. I know they don’t show up in the tech news often but this enemy is not a nation, it is an idea, a religious doctrine if you wish. Call it what you may, some of the fanatical members brought down a couple of buildings in the US and it brought down their empire like a deck of cards. I don’t follow their internal politics so perhaps Obama care and the migrant situation and other issues may warrant impeachment but he is the one that got Bin Laden and that gets a thumbs up in my books but it is somewhat a hollow victory. To see this once great nation snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and descend into the quagmire they are now in where they legalize torture, where they invade a country on (perhaps made up) fiction and then issue no apology to the world for it (any reader who can notify me of an American government apology to the world for the situation in Iraq please feel free to elucidate) and take no responsibility for it places them pretty close to the level of their enemy. It would not take much to restore that integrity to crawl out of the pit, six good people bringing the president of that time a George W. Bush to the Hague to answer for his crimes against humanity would be an amazing healing feat. Certainly an illegal act in the eyes of the U.S. government and no doubt if unsuccessful those people would have sacrificed their lives, but certainly not in vain for it would (have) show(ed) the world that there are still enough Americans willing to go to bat and pay the ultimate cost as other have for their constitution instead of where MDN and others are now putting it, quite appropriately I might add:

              Heck a movie director making a fictional movie of such an event would be worthwhile, as would be a movie of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission’s try in absentia of former president G.W. Bush. Once again, any reader that wishes to point out anything along these lines is welcome.

              Justice is however not there, no apology, no taking responsibility and by extension, no moral high ground, and it would not surprise me that god’s switched sides and no doubt has noticed the torture. This is an advantage to the enemy you describe and extremists of any doctrine are become beyond extremely dangerous sober or not.

              The second point you bring up, that I’d like to address is that of turning the Saudi Arabian peninsula into glass. That won’t do it of course, for the idea and those that support it is global. That’s part of our global pain. Cast a stone on any nation these days and you cast a stone on your neighbor. It’s a global town now, not scattered discrete villages and humans have to deal with that. Bombs are not effective, sure they will destroy people but people can given the opportunity rebuild. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are back on the map.

              More to the point is that these so called horrific nuclear weapons are really only effective against humans. The entire world’s nuclear arsenal released in whatever dreamed up folly might render humans extinct, maybe, but definitely would not seriously hinder the Gaian life force. Twenty years after Chernobyl is a pretty good testament to this.

              Note as you go through the net’s gruesome pictures at the skeletal remains of the human footprint but the plants in the area are doing just fine and so are the fish. Humans need to realize that with all their sophistication and weaponry they don’t have the capacity to destroy the plants providing daily bread and fish.

              Gee hannahjs, you are becoming quite the inspiration here, thank you.


            2. It is a testament to the human spirit (resilient, enterprising, fearless) that Pripyat and Chernobyl are tourist attractions today. I wonder if such tourists pack expensive photographic gear. Wouldn’t the radiation ruin their film? I prefer a safer, fictional tour through the agency of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video game series.

              Thanks for your nuanced discussion of justice, and for taking me seriously.

  3. ALL THREE — the writer, the copy editor, and the headline monkey — should be taken to the woodshed for independently violating journalism rules. Can it get worse?

    1. Hey hannahjs, you are posting lovely today. I think the answer to your question is a resounding yes but Im also surprised, I mean jouranalism has rules? I guess “Manipulate, manipulate manipulate” would be one but it looks like anarchy anything goes when it comes to headlines, as long as it’s violent and sexually degrading, rape and pillage style.

      By the way, left you a little joke/story over the weekend at the “Microsoft still doesn’t get why iPhone and iPad succeeded” headline.

      Have a great week.

      1. Went back and read your story — You had me puzzled for a while! Listen, I love id software and John Carmack…Doom, Wolfenstein, etc. My sister and I loved playing those shooters, and dreamed about writing our own games. Life kinda got in the way of that, though.

        Thanks for that, and — watch your back!

    2. Oh, for the days when TV anchors wrote their own copy, editors were fierce, cigar chewing curmudgeons, and news reporting was supposed to be factual and unbiased.

      Today the bare truth is nowhere to be found. All we get is spin and opinion, and according to our universities, every opinion is as valid as the next. People live in a world populated not by facts, but by their own opinions and prejudices. The prevailing world view is the one with the largest cheering section. Can it get any worse?

  4. Apple violated no “rules” when building its retail experience.
    They followed one rule; treat the customer as if the Customer was in charge of the transaction.

    Not new. I grew up in retail and it was called common sense.

    Also, remember that the Apple Store came about because they had zero success in creating a broad retail channel for their own products. Yes, there was a time when the Best Buys of the world did not have Apple products.

  5. Well, some of the negative critiques here are warranted, but there was a good nugget at the very end:

    “Kobe, who is still on retainer with Apple, fears that the recent push to trademark the store design marks a fundamental shift from setting standards, as Jobs did, to looking backward. “When you start defending something so hard, it reads like there’s not a whole lot more in the pipeline, whether that’s the case or not,” he says.”

    I think that is spot on.

  6. I’m surprised that Belinda Lanks didn’t write that Kobe Bryant was the designer who worked closely with Jobs to create the computer store’s iconic look. 😉

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