My friend Rex posted a note on Twitter saying I probably was not impressed. He got it right. I was not.
Surprisingly, Steve Jobs understood what the issue is -- Does he love his customers? His response was to invite his drinking buddies to hear him knock off a few one-liners about how much he loves his customers.
"I do love my customers! But look at how unreasonable they're being. We never buy them flowers, none of us do. Open the door? We're engineers. Should we care they don't use their phones as phones anymore because they've become a laughing stock, a punchline?"
Even Woz knows -- you gotta carry a Verizon phone. If you want to talk.
Yeah, he hasn't learned how to manage PR. He's still coasting on the boyish charm he doesn't know he no longer has.
The bumper is a nice gesture, but even with that he's complaining that you don't need it, and they can't make enough of them, but if you insisssssst. And the lack of culpability, the lack of a "We're going to do better," the defensive "We're not perfect" are all big problems.
Update: A reader asked "So what should he have said?" I replied...
"Well, we got a little too big for our britches there, and damn if we weren't thinking more about us and less about you. That's wrong. We're here to serve you, and we failed at that. We are going to try to do better in the future, but I can guarantee that we will fuck up again. When we do, I hope our customers, who we know have a deep commitment to us and our products, will continue to support us. We're just human, but we do our best, all the time, and we hope you'll stick with us, as we try to learn to be the big powerful and successful company that we have become."
Something like that. I'd get down off the pedestal as quickly as possible and cop to being human, and ask for forgiveness, not just now, but in the future. And buy the flowers, and hold open the door, and always say you're sorry.
My grandfather figured that out and taught it to me. "Always pay for your sins," he said. The reason is simple, you're going to pay for them whether you want to or not. The payment is much smaller if you don't resist, so it's good business to tell the customer, repeatedly, over and over, how right she is.