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How to Make an Apple Shine

The logo of the global technological giant Apple clearly has a bite taken out of it. Clear as day. This has been the case for decades. It is unequivocally one of the most famous icons around the world. Unfortunately, the slowly evolving reality being formed is what the bite now represents. Instead of being synonymous with a leader, innovator and dream factory of ideas, the famous design with the bite is seen as its competitors taking a bite out of them as their healthy snack for the day.

apple_logo_best-100029852-large(Macworld.com)

How does the apple get returned to the right hands? Or, more importantly, whose hands should be holding it?

Steve Jobs was a technological genius, but he was also a promotional wizard. The vacancy of both following his death in 2011 has clearly affected Apple in a variety of ways. Despite the phenomenal devices he and his business partners have created, the bright light and magic of the company that was founded in his parent’s garage in the ’70s has dimmed to a glow.

Once products are built and sold in the marketplace with sensational popularity, the success of such a company is usually directly linked to its leader and his or her personality. Jobs symbolized a vast intelligence, great mystery, anticipation, trust, wonderment and, above all, revolutionary consumer products.

He was a spectacular performer and leader.

Two years since his death, Apple has yet to figure out how to, as the “Jobs” trailer states, “…make Apple cool again.” This is the ultimate riddle to solve. How do the company leaders and employees make Apple universally and definitively cool again?

Despite the fact the iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro and so forth remain terrific products, the aura is gradually fading. The vibe is increasingly one of admiring this company in the rear view mirror…in memory of Steve Jobs instead of in celebration of Steve Jobs.

Apple is becoming a massive company as opposed to a visionary leader.

And rebuilding the latter is what, or rather who it needs right now behind-the-scenes inventing and in the public eye selling. It needs somebody who lives and breathes the brand. It needs somebody who will staunchly defend and promote the brand. It needs somebody who will dare to think outside the box into new dimensions.

The true replacement needs to be revolutionary.

Their current CEO is Tim Cook. Maybe it’s just me, but they’ve seemed to have had good fortune when being led by guys named Steve.

Of course, I’ve also seen women handle an apple with care while also using it as a key ingredient to make some truly amazing treats…

Learning to Color

A glass of water is half full. Or is it half empty?

Sam: “This sandwich is delicious!”
John: “No, this sandwich is terrible.”
Dalton: “It’s not the best, but it’s pretty good.”

Some see things in black and white. Others may see the gray area.

One of the pinnacle phenomenon’s of the human mind is how person x can see something one way and person y can see it completely differently. Then, person z can see the same thing and give a reaction in the space between person x and person y.

Whatever the situation, people will react similarly or differently, with varying degrees in between. But these are the two very basic reactions of any human mind to an event or occurrence.

“This is great” or This sucks I mean, “This inhales profusely!”

“That was a smart decision” or “That was dumb.”

“Love it” or “List it” (I concede that it is a mildly addicting show, eh).

But here is one of the truly remarkable characteristics about this dynamic: In some circumstances, the presence of an outlier with definitively rigid opinions can become the catalyst that surprisingly brings the masses together.

Wait, what?

Even upon brief reflection, it doesn’t make much sense on the surface. The odd one out is the one who unites the larger population of people who are considered the inside? How does that work? Aren’t there reasons why this person is on the outside to begin with?

One word: Apple.

When we hear this word, some of us initially think of a deliciously tasty red fruit. Others recall the ending to a well-known movie adapted from a best-selling book. However, after these first reactions, a majority of us are probably thinking of computers, tablets, phones, music players, etc.

Apple = Fruit = World Altering Password = Technology = Steve Jobs.

Most accounts portrayed the late Steve Jobs as a black and white thinker/innovator. He had a vision and that was that. Period. If you agreed and did what he needed, then great, welcome. If not, you were fired. Astonishingly, it was his rebellious thought process, wild ideas and relentless one-track mind that ultimately united consumers of all mindsets and backgrounds with Apple’s wide array of technologically ground-breaking products.

Do you own an iPhone? An iPad? An iPod? A MacBook Pro? If not, have you ever used one?

Most people, in my opinion, would not characterize Steve Jobs as normal. He was not part of the mainstream of American society. He was different. But, incredibly, this outlier became a beloved figure and thinker to the inside.

Steve Jobs rigidly saw things in black and white, and yet, in doing so, he opened the world to all the colors and opportunities in between.

Most people will color inside a box, but it takes something special to want to discover what’s outside the lines…

P.S. I learned about the trailer via a tweet from Ashton Kutcher on my iPhone 4s.

Rage with the Machine

I was in a Japanese restaurant several months ago and they offered my guest and me standard laminated menus. Then, almost instantaneously, the waiter placed an iPad with a stand on the table that turned out to be a digital menu. We were scrolling, tapping and searching through all the pictures of the sushi they made. With sushi, in particular, this was a great tool to use when choosing the right platter. While the iPad was only at our table for a short period, it was a nice alternative to a purely text-based menu. The use of an iPad as a menu is a growing trend in restaurants these days. There is definitely a coolness factor to it.

While on vacation in California, my family and I stopped in the hot, yet luxurious, Palm Desert. After walking inside one of the many stores, I asked the salesperson if they carried a particular polo. Instead of turning around and searching the store, looking at a paper with its inventory or rushing to the backroom, she turned and grabbed an iPad and tapped-scrolled and typed her way to discovering they did not have it in-stock. It took all of ten seconds. Even without having the shirt available in the store, she was able to have a picture with an option to order the exact polo I was asking about. She was ready to place the order for me on the spot, if I was so inclined.

Wow. Now that’s customer service.

Like restaurants, there seem to be more and more iPads/tablets used for businesses, from retail to the local cupcake shop Tin in suburban Columbus, Ohio. The convenience works both ways, for customers as well as employees.

U.S. citizens have been increasingly encouraged to file their taxes online (ie-paperless). While doing work online is certainly faster and more efficient in some ways (I’ve participated in this practice as an fyi), we can all recall the story of when hackers got their digital hands on thousands of sensitive materials from The Pentagon. If hackers can find their way into The Pentagon…

However tempting this convenience appears (and it is), we do need to remain cognizant of the risks.

The point is that we tend to be trending towards, however slowly, a paperless society. There are positives, without question, but also definite negatives to this digital evolution. It reminded me of a short clip from a show about this very reality occurring with the Millennials, my generation.

“How does somebody know what they want if they’ve never even seen it?”

Steve Jobs changed the world forever with his innovative products, released as if they were all continuously moving along an assembly line for him to pick up at his leisure. His business savvy has also been celebrated and assuredly studied by aspiring businessmen, businesswomen and big thinking dreamers in their basements and even parent’s garages. The iMac computer is not owned solely by Americans, but by adults and children all around the world. And not just this Apple product either. Terms like iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac and Macbook Pro are household names. Techies and millions of fawning fans alike listened to his every word whenever he casually strolled onto that plain stage in northern California with a wall-sized projection screen behind, clothed in his trademarked look: blue jeans, New Balance sneakers and his low-key black turtleneck. In hand was his next big device to make its grand premiere, ready for an exhilarating public test run.

Rightly so, he is admired. In this age of increasing globalization, it was nice to say when he was alive that, ‘he’s one of ours….he’s an American innovator.’ It’s still nice to say. Walter Isaacson’s Behemoth of a book, “Steve Jobs,” details his life and includes just about any bit of information anyone would like to know about the man and technological icon. A movie is set to be adapted from this book by famed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for a movie called, “Steve Jobs.” For those who are drawn to Jobs’ life and career, love dramatic stories as portrayed in cinema but can’t wait for this film to be released sometime down the road, they are in luck.

Lights. Camera. Genius.

“That ’70s Show,” “My Boss’s Daughter” and the cult classic “Dude, Where’s My Car?” offer a snapshot of the portfolio of the man chosen to fill the soles of some of the most famous New Balance shoes in history. Ashton Kutcher, the director, writers and cast are preparing to premiere the major motion picture, “jOBS” at the Sundance Film Festival tonight (Nationwide April 19th on Apple’s 37th Anniversary). Many may scoff at the idea of Michael Kelso portraying such a serious and beloved figure. However, before passing judgement, first take a look at a side-by-side comparison:

steve-ashton-apple

(www.sellcell.com)

Now come the vital questions that will surely be asked before and after the premiere: did director Joshua Michael Stern present the right details, milestones and key decisions to appropriately define the gigantic life of Steve Jobs through his multiple decades of leading Apple onto the top-shelf of the technological world? What overall theme and events did they decide to drive the story with? Is it accurate?

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (“The Woz”) recently shared his reaction of the first released clip of “jOBS” as seen below to the website Gizmodo. “Not close…we never had such interaction and roles…I’m not even sure what it’s getting at…personalities are very wrong although mine is closer…don’t forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn’t around and didn’t attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future,” Wozniak said.

Here is the aforementioned clip:

One thing that can be agreed upon is that the final retort from Kutcher/Jobs excitedly foreshadows the empire the two of them would soon begin to build. It’s probably safe to say that this clip alone will generate a significant buzz of curiosity about the movie.

Interestingly, Alexis Kleinman of The Huffington Post recently noted something very insightful about the clip. “With the premiere of the Steve Jobs biopic “jOBS” quickly approaching this month, its creators are doing something Apple never would: Pumping up excitement by offering a sneak-peak.” It’s certainly something to ponder…

Without seeing this movie in its entirety, it’s impossible to declare whether or not the script is misleading throughout or simply taking a little bit of artistic licensing, which does happen in Hollywood, for better and for worse. This could be the only hiccup or it could be first drip in a waterfall of inaccuracies. Until the lights go down and the movie is premiered, no fan/critic will know. The question is with his true life so fascinating and inspiring, why has such a step been taken for this important one minute scene? A few fortunate people will likely discover that truth tonight.

I suppose that like any Apple product though, there will be the occasional bug. Maybe “jOBS” is just life imitating art?

Come April 19th, will you give it a Friday night?