Angela ascendent: Meet the woman who wants to change the way you buy your iPhone

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

SEE ALSO:
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.]

26 Comments

  1. LOL, MDN’s fascination with Ahrendts knows no bounds! 3 articles in the last couple days. I hope they realize that Steve said the demise of a company was when the salesperson got put in charge of the company. He may have been referring to Ballmer, but I think it would apply to any company.

    1. At first I thought you were talking about Jony in a sense.

      On second thought, I take that back. Jony has the world class tech design chops and track record for decades.

      And Angela’s stellar achievement is Burberry sold three times more clothes, wow, she should immediately run the world’s largest and most successfully tech titan company … /s

  2. fashionista (you’d have to expect this somewhat, considering Burberry), but no where have I read/heard that she’s pompous and, or pretentious. In fact, I’ve heard the opposite. I’m not connected to the rich/famous, so your insider view is welcomed.

  3. “I have my own theory about why the decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The product starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.”
    – Steve

    1. You’re right. Haven’t visited the local Apple Store in years. It’s just another room filled with supercilious Apple “geniuses” and mouth breather Apple fanboys. Even the kids refuse to go complaining it’s boring and stupid. I hear ya, kids. Let’s do something fun instead.

  4. Was in my local Apple Store (commonly called the iPhone Store- no shit) and cannot for the life of me see any good reason anyone should think it special.

    iPhones you can buy just about anywhere.
    Beats crap you can buy almost anywhere.
    Covers and cases you can buy almost anywhere.
    DJI Drones you can buy at Wal-Mart, for example.
    Macs you can buy many places and usually cheaper.

    It is a big room with a Big Brother Video screen with a lot of people milling around trying to figure out their iPhone. Glass in the front with no Apple Logo.

    The Apple Store used to be a great place to learn, try, buy and get info on how to do stuff with their products. The store is a 50 mile round trip from my house and is not worth the time or fuel, but it was not always so.

    And she gets paid for this?

    1. “The store is a 50 mile round trip from my house and is not worth the time or fuel, but it was not always so.”

      You mean the Apple Store used to be closer to your house?

  5. Sadly, I agree with you.

    When the first Apple Store opened in my area it was a two-hour round trip. A destination and magical journey to get excellent advice, test Apple products before you buy (Macs) and a store chock full of third party products (software, peripherals) — no more.

    As you alluded to everyone is staring over their phones and the staffing attitude has changed. No longer helpful and thoughtful spending quality time, at least in my last experience a year ago. I got the feeling it was in or out cattle call among the herds …

    1. I’ve had a different experience. Maybe it was striding in to the Apple Stores looking like Red Sonja, snapping my fingers, that stirred the blue-shirts to cater to me. Can’t be certain.. However, all anecdotal evidence, case by case, is evidence. Add up enough cases and you get statistical preponderance. However, statistics are subject to so many errors in collection and analysis that eager beavers over the years have given statistics a bad name, except among insurance actuaries.

      So each of us sniffs at the statistics (unless they support our personal experience). No one cares to be made to feel like an outlier.. at the tail end of a distribution..

  6. Clearly most of you have forgotten the original purpose behind Apple retail. Of course EVERY product sold in an Apple Store can be found elsewhere, closer to you, and frequently at a lower price. Personally I would never buy a Mac from the Apple Store when I can get it tax-free via mail order. But that’s not the point. Apple retail’s job has always been to articulate the advantages of Apple products in a way that the teenage salesperson at CompUSA or Sears could not. For those of us who are already committed Apple customers, the Apple Store may be nothing more than an inconvenience, but for the crowds of people that cause this inconvenience, the store serves its purpose. All Ahrendts is trying to do is recognize and enhance their delivery of that purpose.

  7. What did Steve Jobs say about what happens to a company when the Sales People are put in charge? The “retail CEO” would be the “sales people”, MDN, just like Steve Ballmer.

    1. Your right about the “retail CEO” Steve warned us about. Steve also warned us about keeping the business OUT of politics for fear of alienating half your customers.

      Well, as we have seen increasingly, Cook already thumbed his nose at one of Steve’s company directives.

      So, it would not surprise me if his grand master stroke when he departs would be to thumb his nose again, and install a “retail CEO.”

      That’s because liberals LIVE for destroying tradition and timeless principles while smugly patting themselves on the back and mistakenly, call it progress …

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