The Humanization of Apple

Stephen Hackett tells a story about a kid, his iPod nano, and how Apple did good:

I have kept these photos for several reasons, but the big one is this: Apple - most of the time - is on the same team as its customers. I'm sure that kid's parents came to Green Hills ready to drop $150 on a new music player for their son, but the staff there wanted to surprise and delight them. Did a new iPod nano make up for the fact that the kid had some serious injuries as a result of this incident? Did it bring justice down on those who beat him up? Of course not. But it was the decent thing to do, and in that moment, Apple wasn't a beaming white wall of a corporation, but a friend, and a helper.

That's why I went to work for Apple. I wanted to be able to help people when their stuff was broken or acting up. I got to connect with lots of customers in meaningful ways.

I miss that.

I'm sure the Apple of today would still take care of this kid. While Apple is a lot bigger than it was when I was a Genius, being decent to its customers has remained a core component to its success.

As my political beliefs attest, I'm a big believer in the concept of corporate democracy -- that is, that the real men running government are those running mega-corporations like Exxon, paying off politicians to legislate in ways that benefit no one's interests but their own. That said, I see Apple in a different light. They have never seemed evil insofar that all they care about is making a buck at all costs. It seems like Apple's sole purpose is to make the best consumer electronics in the world, to delight customers. That they're the world's most valuable company is simply a byproduct of that goal, icing on the proverbial cake. You can see the "soul" of the company everywhere: it's plastered all over their TV ads, on their product pages, in their retail stores, and during their media events. Put another way, Apple is moral, the antithesis of Exxon.

As for Stephen's story, be sure to click through and check out the pics. Pretty cool.