Steve Jobs’ initial reaction to Apple Store’s Genius Bar: ‘That’s so idiotic!’

“In 2000, when Apple hired Ron Johnson to create and run its first retail stores, Johnson got a crash course in working with Steve Jobs,” Eric Johnson reports for Recode. “The two men ‘clicked from Day One,’ Johnson recalled on the latest Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher.”

“Arguably the centerpiece of what became the Apple Store is the Genius Bar, one of Johnson’s ideas,” Johnson reports. “Customers can take private lessons in how to use their new Apple products, or take existing products in for tech support and repairs.”

“Jobs hated the idea,” Johnson reports. “I remember the day I came in and told Steve about the Genius Bar idea and he says, ‘That’s so idiotic! It’ll never work!””

Read more and listen to the full interview here.

MacDailyNews Take: Needless to say, Jobs quickly warmed up to the idea.

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  1. People forget Jobs was human and capable of being wrong. But to his credit came around when shown something could work. Not every Jobs idea or thought was perfectly realized genius with nary a flaw. (He was just better at it than most.) Hopefully Tim Cook can be given the same slack though I understand the impulse to condemn when disappointed.

    1. The problem with Cook, I believe, is that he is a genuinely very nice person and he’s probably willing to listen to any half-assed persuasive kook working there right now. “Hey Tim! Let’s build a car!” Tim seems to say “Sounds Great” a lot.

      Who knows.

      I just hope he hears the word “Mac” at least once when he goes to sleep at night.

    2. “The impulse to condemn when disappointed” — a felicitous phrase, and one that exemplifies 65% of the comments posted here at MacDamNation. The other 35% are from clueless fanboys and apologists. The end is nigh.

    3. Wait just a minute everyone. This is clockbaite as well as self promotion by the guy who said this. The reason being that SJ blasted and was sceptical about everything. That was his job and that was why the Genius Bar an many many other things were right from the start.

      That was his job. Question everything.

      Just because he is not here to defend himself doesn’t mean we should be so gullible about these fake facts.

  2. I still think the name is super ‘idiotic’…..

    Just as much as i think the use of the Pro moniker at Apple is idiotic. ( specially last few years )

  3. ‘Genius’ of course still gets entirely suitable derision from Apple haters. If it was a relative term, it would work. But it’s not. ‘Genius’ is an extreme term that isn’t used relatively. It’s all marketing.

    But Ron Johnson was remarkably right about how well the new, modern, younger geek can talk tech to their peers. I should point out that people like David Pogue lead the way, providing translations of dictums sent down from on high Cupertino to we mere humans. I am always reminded of the film ‘Metropolis’which addresses the concept:

    There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator.

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