When I heard of Steve Jobs passing tonight, I had to create a blog post.
Back in 2007, I worked full time for Apple, Inc at Tyson’s Corner in McLean, VA right near DC. Tyson’s was the first Apple store ever opened. This was before I formally started my graduate school program and at the time, I was taking all the prerequisites I needed while trying to earn money for school and the long road ahead of me. At the time, I remember randomly applying to Apple knowing that, while I loved technology, I did not have the experience they were looking for. I was no genius, and just started using a mac. I grew up a PC user.
The interview process was, different. It was a group interview and there were activities in which we were required to work as a team. It was at this point, I realized that my personality was worth something to this company. I was girlie, I was outgoing, I had opinions, I worked in education; I was unique. It didn’t matter that I had no formal computer experience, aside from basic word processing. What mattered is that I was me and I wanted to learn.
Boy, oh boy, did I ever want to learn. When I started the job as the head cashier, I felt like I knew nothing. Quickly though, I learned the basics and learned so much from my fellow co-workers. Ironically, I think they learned from me as well. We were instructed to be our unique selves.
We didn’t work on commission, and I never felt like the store was forcing me to sell. Yes, it’s a business just like everything else, but Apple’s model has a deeper understanding than that a business’s goal is to just make money. Apple pushed us to sell what was appropriate for the customer. We would never be instructed to push a MacBook Pro on a student who travels all the time and only uses her computer for basic tasks. No, that person would be recommended a MacBook, even though it was much cheaper.
This business model kept people coming back. Frequently, I would have repeat customers because they trusted me.
The best part about working for Apple was when the iPhone was originally released. Somehow, Apple made the iPhone release a bigger event than any holiday I could imagine. They hyped us up and got us excited. On opening day, it was our store that sold the “first” iPhone and we made it to the news. There was a line up of employees greeting all the customers. Each customer who came through the door that day had an experience. It wasn’t just a phone, it was something bigger than that. Something bigger than all of us.
I wanted to share this tid-bit about my life because Steve Jobs knows business. I’m no expert, but he got it right. His techniques, leadership, and innovations will go on for years to come.
As I type on my MacBook Pro, I want to thank Steve Jobs for his genius and innovations. The world has changed because you were in it.
Check out the Wired tribute.
When Steve demoed the first Apple Store at Tyson’s.
Apple and Steve artwork.
Last but not least, check out Apple to see their tribute to Steve.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Apple Inc.