Thoughts on the Apple Media Event

March 10, 2011

The stage is set

The Apple Media Event is a fascinating animal. The media covers them as though they’re huge milestones in the technological world when in fact they’re nothing more than product announcements. Companies make these on a daily basis and nobody seems to care. But when it’s Apple it’s all of a sudden a huge deal. Why is this?

Put simply, people don’t listen carefully to a man who talks continuously. But when the practically-mute boy finally musters up the courage to say a few words, he can silence a whole room of curious people who want to know what is so important that it made the boy who never talks feel the need to speak. In the corporate world, most companies assume the role of the chatterbox. They constantly try to be in the spotlight by announcing every time someone in the company takes a lunch break. Press releases, interviews, social networking… they feel that unless they’re constantly on the customer’s radar that nobody will pay attention to them. But it’s a reiteration of a principle that runs throughout life — when a man tries hard to make a good social impression, he ends up failing, but when he just lays back he ends up becoming the life of the party. When an artist tries to be creative and original he ends up being ordinary and unmemorable, but an artist concerned merely with producing good work ends up being legendary.

So with companies… when the company tries so hard to be revolutionary, hip, and creative, they end up being just another geeky random tech company. But when the company lays back and focuses on making products that they themselves want to use and treat the customers as though they’re fortunate to get to have these products, then people clamor over them.

This is the Apple strategy. They never say a word about a product until it’s ready to ship. Then, when they say that they have something to announce, everybody listens, not because the products are expected to be incredible, but because the mute boy is speaking. People also listen because Apple’s philosophy as a company under the direction of Steve Jobs is different than other companies. They make products that they themselves really want to use. And they market themselves that way so that when people buy an Apple product it’s like gaining access to an exclusive club, not like accepting a flyer from a guy on the street dressed up in a hot dog costume.

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