During the dot-com nuclear winter of 2001 I found a job at one of the then brand-spanking-new Apple Stores as a Mac Genius. I learned there are people who thrive in a retail environment, people who genuinely think it’s great to come in to work and spend their days trying to sell things to strangers.
(That was not me—for me, retail was a nightmare.)
One of our sales people was a really slick guy, handsome and hip, the kind of guy who would give a sales spiel about one of the Macs on the floor to a customer while I was standing nearby and I—one of the Mac Geniuses who knew all the specs on the thing—would think to myself, “Hey, I should buy one of those!” He was damn good at his job, and one of those people who naturally likes people.
As you’d expect from a sales person, he knew just enough about technology to be able to sell the machines, which was as it should be.
Remember this took place in 2002 right after the Apple Stores opened up and unhinged people considered visiting them something of a religious experience. For most people it was just a nice store, but for the faithful at that time, the backlit Apples flanking the front door was something oh so much more.
(Buy one of the grizzled original Geniuses a beer sometime and you’ll hear some stories.)
One day the store was really busy and this sales rep sidled up to me, pointed at a customer, leaned in real close, and whispered in my ear, “I f**ing hate that guy.”
This was the kind of guy who got along with everybody. What was going on?
The guy my sales guy was pointing at was an annoying nerd right out of central casting—hyperthyroid-scrawny in a faded t-shirt, coke-bottle glasses and an obvious-from-across-the-room superior attitude.
“What’s happening?” I asked the sales rep.
“That f**ing guy.” He was almost hyperventilating. “He walked up to me and asked me some kind of question about the kernel or something.”
“So I said I didn’t know. And he looked down his nose at me and sneered, ‘Hmmm. And you work for Apple.’”
It was good to know we all have our limits and though our buttons may be in different places, we all have them.
Nic is worried about the fragile state of our technology and thinks you should be as well.
Lots of good reads in this installment. Includes All Hell Let Loose, Metallica: This Monster Lives, 10% Happier, Onward, Echopraxia, Cibola Burn, The Getaway God, Lock In, The Red: First Light, Terms of Enlistment, and Lines of Departure.
Nic tries to understand the WATCH. It doesn't go well.
Nic thinks home integration could be Apple’s next major category. Read on to find out why.
Nic is frustrated with his Kindle and would love to see Apple make an e-ink reader.
Once again user-interface ineptitude and Internet idiots make things harder than they have to be.
There are ways to fix the illegal immigration problem. They don’t involve yelling at children in buses. Nic explains.
Solid reads abound in this installment of the roundup. Includes Console Wars, Your Inner Fish, Flash Boys, Digital Wars, The Perfect Storm, Tower Lord, By Blood We Live, I am Pilgrim and Lexicon.
Why whatever Apple is about to release will not be anything like the Pebble or Android Wear.
Game of Thrones and The First Law Trilogy illustrate the different ways England and America are dealing with fading empires.