Yesterday, the authors of Becoming Steve Jobs, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, had a little sit-down at the Soho Apple Store — with surprise guest host John Gruber.
It was a rare opportunity to get a sense of the authors’ personalities and motivations — since we normally hear of such things only through articles written by people who color the facts with their own point of view.
Kudos to Gruber for asking some probing questions and making the event run smoothly.
The truth is, any book about Steve Jobs will have a polarizing effect similar to the one generated by Steve himself. So now we have the battle of the biographies. It’s Becoming Steve Jobs (Schlender and Tetzeli) vs. Steve Jobs (Isaacson).
A few observations:
First, I love the title Becoming Steve Jobs. A book title, like the headline of an ad, is hugely important, and this one so perfectly captures the concept. Steve accomplished what he did only because of the journey that brought him back to Apple in 1997.
Few will remember at this point, but the original title for Isaacson’s book as announced was iSteve. What a horribly cute title that would have been for a life so important. More ▸
We don’t like to make hot-headed remarks about Apple new-product events around these parts. Better to let things sink in for a while.
Okay, time’s up.
A few random comments about yesterday’s Apple Watch and MacBook event.
Glitch-free and a pleasure to watch. With the accompanying tweet-cast, Apple has become quite spiffy with these things. My only issue with it was…
I couldn’t help but wince while reading some of the pre-event tweets. Steve Jobs hated any writing that sounded like marketing-speak, but such inhibitions seemed to have melted way here. It was a mix of trying to be cool (Getting psyched backstage listening to I Lived by @OneRepublic), trying to be clever (Please make sure your seat is in an upright position. It’s almost time for takeoff.) and sounding like an ad (People grab their seats before the keynote grabs their attention). More ▸
Sometimes I am astounded by the analytical prowess of technology journalists.
The Apple Watch is known to be shipping in April. Apple just placed a 12-page ad for the watch in Vogue. And yesterday the invitation went out for a March event titled “Spring Forward” — which is the least cryptic invitation in the history of Apple events.
I guess that was enough to make Fortune go out on a limb.
Subhead: Is this the Apple Watch we’ve all been waiting for?
First paragraph:Apple sent out a media invitation Thursday inviting journalists to [sic] March 9 event, leading to much speculation that it could be when the tech company reveals its much anticipated Apple Watch.
Ah, okay. Thanks, Fortune. I get it now.
But enough of that. We like to talk about marketing here, so let’s talk about that 12-pager in Vogue. More ▸
I like Luke. However, I do think this is a pointless exercise. So many things have changed in the three years since Steve’s passing, it’s hard to make these judgments. And then there’s the fact that Steve himself presided over a number of Apple low points. So the idea that he would frown upon today’s Apple — which is doing well in so many big ways — is quite a leap.
Are these seven things really worthy of Steve’s “hate”? More ▸
I woke up yesterday to a Fortune article by Philip Elmer-DeWitt with this opening thought: “Apple was doomed at the start of the year. Now it can do no wrong. What the hell happened?”
Funny how all that talk of doom dissipated overnight when Apple unveiled iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch and Apple Pay. Now iPhone sales are through the roof. Samsung profits are plummeting. AAPL stock is in record territory. And Wall Street analysts continue to raise their target prices.
But Philip isn’t entirely correct. Refusing to accept defeat, a small band of rebels has fled to the hills, from where they still lob an occasional grenade in Apple’s direction.
For sheer entertainment value, let us marvel at two recent articles. More ▸
Another year, another Apple holiday commercial. So, what do we think?
Nosing around the internet (and pestering friends and associates), my non-scientific small-sample analysis of The Song yields these results:
• Most people like it.
• Some people love it.
• Some people think it goes over the top into Hallmark territory.
And then the dose of reality — even among the people who like this ad the most, quite a few qualify their answer by saying “but it’s not as good as last year’s spot.”
Well, the truth is, when its ads are critiqued, Apple has it rougher than other companies. It is not only graded vs. its competitors — it’s graded vs. its own past. That’s what you get when your advertising is as legendary as your products.
And so, if we are to review this ad, it’s only fitting that we review it two different ways. More ▸
Who the heck do I think I am? I’m a creative director who’s had more than a few adventures in technology marketing, including branding, product naming and strategy. I have a long history with Apple and NeXT — where I took a blood oath to uphold the principles of simplicity.
Insanely Simple mail list
Currently, I have talks scheduled in these places.
(Public events are indicated by live links.)
15 April: Oslo, Norway
23 April: Stockholm, Sweden
28 April: London, UK
05 June: Traverse City, MI