Steve Jobs was a self-starting, free-thinking entrepreneur. Yet whenever a new Apple product is released, we see that part of his legacy is a population of those who chase trends and hold a brand in sacred esteem.
A recent article from the news magazine, The Week, offered a piece called “Five Reasons Apple is a Cult”. Yeah, it’s a cheap and snazzy head-turning headline, but it’s not inaccurate to say that some of the activities found within the Mac world do resemble the signs which cults are formed upon.
I can remember being in 8th grade and Thomas Bechtold, a real smart 7th grader, talked up Apple computers in our science class over the ones all the students had at home. I also remember Matt Henriksen, a good buddy of mine, saying that same year that Apples are more “user friendly”–whatever that meant.
To me, I didn’t even know there was a difference between the Macs and “IBM compatibles”. (We never had a computer in our home until I was a Junior.) But since those days, the schism between the Apple vs the PC user has grown from computers to all sorts of electronics and to Apple vs. everyone else.
The exclusivity that limited Apple computers’ functionality also created a loyalty. And Apple became an island–though many of these fans would assume it plateau above everyone else. This loyalty has been seen in its customers for decades. With the creation of the Apple Stores, we now see this extend to employment. And here’s where The Week article gets it’s gold.
A few excerpts:
“Apple stores are inundated with job applications.”
“Upon learning that they’ve been hired, many newly minted employees burst into tears.”
“Apple has implemented a virtual cone of silence over its retail operations, barring employees from speaking to the press.”
“Employees rate, on a scale from 1 to 10, how likely they are to recommend a job at Apple to friends and family members. Those who reply with a 9 are marked down as ‘promoters’ — those who put down 7 or below are considered “‘detractors.’”
These statements are interesting for two reasons: 1. that cult psychology–like doomsday psychology mentioned in a previous article on this blog–can sneak into the minds of most anyone, and 2. that Steve Jobs was so not like the people who laud his products!
And when the two come together in employment, the company–also at odds with Jobs’ character–promotes this exclusive-minded culture and policy. The conclusion I come to is that Jobs used this powerful “cultish force” (for lack of a better term) purely as part of a business strategy.
Genius! …and a bit twisted, not just to exploit groupthink in others, but to help propagate it.
to new plateaus,