20 years ago this week Steve Jobs opened the first Apple store at Tysons Corner Mall, Virginia. See him walk you through the store pre-opening here. (36 computers in store and every one of them is connected to the internet!)
Not everyone thought Apple was doing the right thing when it chose to open retail stores. Wasn’t the idea to move retail online? When the whole world seemed to be going to the left, Steve Jobs and Apple went to the right. Now remember, Apple wasn’t exactly crushing it going into the new Millennium. They were close to bankruptcy a few years prior, only saved by a $150M investment by Microsoft.
There were doubters!
David Goldstein, the President of the Dallas-based growth-strategy consulting firm Channel Marketing Corp. said, “it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for them (Apple) to open retail stores…Apple will turn the lights off within two years and will have a very bad and expensive experience.”
Cliff Edwards of Bloomberg said, “few outsiders think new stores, no matter how well-conceived, will get Apple back on the hot-growth path…maybe it’s time Steve Jobs stopped thinking quite so differently.”
Many of you will recognize the reference. ‘Think Different’ was the marketing campaign Jobs conceived on his return to Apple in 1997. Edwards was having a ‘jab’ at Jobs, using the Apple ad from a few years previous as ammunition.
Fast forward to 2021 and there are over 500 Apple stores worldwide and the market cap of Apple has grown from $5B in 2001 to $2.2T today.
The irony of course is that Jobs and Apple were ‘taking their own medicine’, going against the status quo of the time. They were ‘thinking different’ and by doing so created a pillar of one of the most valuable companies in the world. To a large degree their actions personified what they stated in their famous ad…
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.
At Nicholas Brinley we love being introduced to Founders of early-stage tech companies and we are often asked the question, “what are you looking for in a Founder?”
It’s a good question and the answer is inspired by Steve Jobs and Apple. ‘Think Different’ literally acts as our guide. These characteristics are to a large degree the things we are looking for in a 45 minute Zoom call.
The rebels, the troublemakers, those crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the only ones that do.