The Genius of Apple Coolness

    February 4, 2005

I had my first true iPod experience today. You know, the feeling of coolness as you’re out and about in public with those little white buds sticking in your ears with the white cables dangling down that disappear under your jacket.

Yes, I did succumb to strong temptation when I was in the US last week and I bought an iPod Mini.

So I was downtown at lunchtime today. Took the tram to Leidseplein, listening to one of Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code shows during the journey. (If Jackie Danicki gets her podcast kicks on a bus in the Earl’s Court Road, London, then I can get mine on the number 24 tram in Amsterdam.)

You get looks from people. Knowing looks, especially from those with dangly bits in their ears. Might even exchange a smile or two. Even a wink if your cable is white (but you have to be a bit careful with a gesture like that, especially if it’s a girl).

Wow, this is a great social tool. Unspoken potential connections, all because you have some things sticking in your ears.

Earlier this morning, I read a great post by Steve Crescenzo who talks about Apple’s Genius Bar in San Francisco. That was in my mind as I popped into the Apple Centre MacHouse to see if they had an iPod Mini dock. I was in luck.

Then, just out of curiosity, I asked if they had any iPod Shuffles in stock. That question was greeted with gales of laughter, including from me! Oh, we did have a good laugh, truly a Pythonesque moment! As it seems everywhere, Shuffles continue to be in big, big demand so you have to wait until more stock arrives.

In chatting to the sales guy, I noticed one thing. The way he spoke, he had passion. He was excited about iPods. He spoke animatedly all the time. He loves these products. While this store in Amsterdam didn’t have a Genius Bar like the one Steve describes, I bet that sales guy’s attitude is reflected among all the other employees.

It shouldn’t be too surprising, really. They’re working for a company that it seems everyone around the world thinks makes some of the coolest, most desirable, products on the planet. Everyone wants one. Everyone is talking about them. Everywhere you look, there are posters advertising them.

You have a groundswell of consumer and media positive-ness that would make any employee just feel good about what he or she is doing working there, and good about being a part of all the coolness that’s going on.

Of course, lots of other companies makes lots of great products, and whose employees love being part of their experience. But I’ve rarely seen the passion. So while the Genius Bar concept hasn’t yet hit Apple’s Amsterdam stores, that doesn’t matter – they have geniuses there anyway.

Yep, this is coolness, I thought, as I left the store and crossed the street to the crowded tramstop…

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: