Tag Archives: apple

Mac-quiescent

Mac mini, Apple Keyboard & Mouse plus iPod by flickrich

Mac mini, Apple Keyboard & Mouse plus iPod by flickrich

I own a mac book, I have an i-pod. I have resisted in buying an i-phone (because it won’t do what I need it to do for work stuff as well as my treo does). I love the new mac store in the city. I think my mac book is a thing of beauty. I don’t know what would happen if I lost my i-pod.

But I’m a bit “whatever” about apple.

Sure, my mac book has had two battery failures and had to have its hard drive replaced. I had nothing but trouble when I first got my i-pod and tried to sync it to my dell.  But the mac book was fixed really easily, and the i-pod issues where all sorted out when I took it back in and they sorted out a new connection cable. 

This morning I was thinking why…if I quite like their products, think their retail spaces are fantastic and my experience with their customer service has been pretty spot on – why am I so “blah” about them?

And then I remembered him

Every year around Christmas time, our parent company gets us together for one big day. The morning is all about company performance, with some inspiring talks form the likes of people such as Peter Garrett and  Sam Bailey.  And then we all get back together for an evening of well…hard drinking.

So a few years ago I was interested to hear that one of the head marketing folks from apple Asia-Pacific was going to be talking.   Many years before that when the first nano had been launched, I had been at a marketing industry evening, where a local apple marketing guy had given a short (and very interesting) talk about the challenges of marketing a global brand locally (how you get creative amongst the strict guidelines laid out etc). It was great. He also told us about the process apple goes through when launching  a product. He tried to get some sensible questions out of the audience.  (mostly gasping macfreaks creaming themselves about getting their hands on a real live nano before they were on sale the next day, and breathlessly asking about rumours of an i-phone.) The guy looked genuinely fearful, and also showed a real (and justified)  concern that someone was going to pilfer his new piece of kit.  I normally am pretty quiet at these things, but I felt bad for him, so I asked if the i-pod had done what it was intended to do, and opened up the wider world of apple products to people (this was at a time when no one really owned a mac).  He looked so relieved, and said “finally, a proper question…”

So I was pretty hopeful about the apple guy at our company conference and some of the things he may be telling us. Maybe he’d give us his version of marketing a brand across multi-countries, regions, languages, and cultures.  That would be good, given a lot of the companies there were just starting out globally.  I had worked on projects in Singapore, Russia, USA and the UK that year for some pretty big global brands and had seen some of the challenges that they face. I was keen to hear his views.  Maybe he’d talk about what it was like as a brand owner of an iconic brand and how that is protected and nurtured. Or maybe he’d do somehting quite unexpected – I mean this was a guy from apple afterall.

Well, what he did was pretty much unexpected. A sort of twenty minute twisted sales pitch. He humiliated people in the group and told us how cool he was. His opening line was about how “someone in this audience” had called him and asked if they could come in and have a chat. He even named the agency she worked at. “Nice try” he said…but she’d have to come back with something better than that.

Then he did this thing where he made everyone stand up and said “if you are a planner sit down, if you are a creative sit down…” etc (he forgot a researcher, but we had sat down by this stage), until all the people left standing up where IT guys. Then he said something like “These are the guys who are stopping you doing what you really want to do, they are stopping your creativity.”  Gee – that’s a  great way to stop you getting your products into about 70 companies – by embarrassing the guys who probably would make those decisions.

He then showed some slick but crap corporate video about how “cool” they are at apple in Sydney. I mean, the guy was wearing high waist jeans, a tucked in polo shirt, white Reeboks and a FUCKING PHONE CLIP ON HIS BELT. He was about as cool as Jerry Seinfield.  He looked like Bill Gates was his style inspiration. And he was telling us “We are cool, you will never understand, unless you use a mac.” 

So, now I see why I am “whatever” about mac. I’ve seen the lifted veil of their cool white exterior – and it’s not all happy and shiny. It’s a daggy, sneering and VERY uncool!  The sad thing is, that there’s probably some pretty nice people there. This guy was the wrong person to be talking about that brand.

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Apple pie in my eye

I dragged mm into the shiny new apple store in Sydney, to make a visit the geekgenius bar to get a second battery replacement in 2 years for my macbook and for them to look into a “fatal” error picked up while doing one of those surface scan things. Sitting at the geek genius bar with “Forrest” was fun – he was my distracted geek for the afternoon. 

my mac - at it's unboxing

I ignored my compulsion to buy…well, just about everything in store (I’m a sucker for design man) and even walked calmly by the i-phones (who I have vowed to step away from for at least the next 12 months).  But what made my heart sing was the fact it was 5pm on a Sunday afternoon, and I could cruise in with a pre-booked appointment and get someone straight away to look at my white elephant.  I sort of begrudgingly love my little macbook, and probably if I got off my arse sooner to get it seen to I wouldn’t have such mixed feelings about its precocious performance, and temperamental freezing spats.  Even when it lost a whole bunch of drunken pictures I felt it had maybe done me a favour.  I was even more excited that I could take it home again last night to back up some stuff and drop it off again at another pre-booked time at 7:20am! Now, people overseas may be used to that audacious level of service, but here in Aus, you had to call the apple line, get a number, take it into an apple re-seller, be amazed by their indifference to your problem, then wait for the call to go in and pic up your fixed kit.  Now, you can pre-book and speak to someone who at least appears to care about your problem and more often than not it appears it’ll get fixed then and there. It made Sydney feel sort of, well like a big city.

So this morning mm and I jump off the bus right out the front of the store – I’m all still “big-city-buzz” and SO HAPPY to be able to do this before work and about to BURST into the store with all their shiny, happy, product and we were stopped by a secutiry guard.  Seems the store doesn’t open until much later. No probs.  We tell the guy what we are there for, and he takes a while to wander around and find soemone else to come and help us. He then comes back to tell us he can’t find anyone. He’s nice about it, but it’s COLD outside. I want in! Eventually someone comes down and takes us up to the bar (that serves no drinks as noted by CapitalD) and we get served.  But I was SO LET DOWN! The magic had been broken, the mood had been quashed…my gay little skip was reduced to a shivering hover.  The guy who did help me was really very good, and he took my white elephant away to remove the “fatal error”…whatever that means, just sounds bad.   But I figure if that they are letting people make bookings before the store opens, then someone should know about it.  The guy upsatirs was expecting me, so they knew about it somewhere.  Why not shoot down a little list to the hired guy down front?

So, I’ll wait and see how long it takes me to get the white beast back, and I’m hoping that if I pick it up before work I won’t be stopped by the dude in the parka at the front door. He’s doing his job, but apple should be helping him do it better.

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