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Does Steve Jobs really love his customers?
By Dave Winer on Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 12:46 PM.

A picture named oldspice.jpgOkay I withheld immediate judgement on the Apple press conference, I wanted to give it some time to sink in.  permalink

My friend Rex posted a note on Twitter saying I probably was not impressed. He got it right. I was not.  permalink

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.  permalink

"She says I don't buy her flowers, or open the door for her, or speak lovingly to her or about her? Does she!" he says. (Paraphrasing.) permalink

"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?" permalink

Even Woz knows -- you gotta carry a Verizon phone. If you want to talk. permalink

So instead of talking to the customers, he talked about the customers.  permalink

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. permalink

A picture named youngSteveJobsFortune.jpg permalink

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.  permalink

Update: A reader asked "So what should he have said?" I replied... permalink

I don't like it when people try to tell me what to say, so I sure as hell am not going to tell someone else what to say.  permalink

However, you might have asked what I would have said if I were in his shoes, and that game I'm willing to play. :-) permalink

Now I can't imagine Jobs saying this, being who he is and all, but remember this is my fantasy. permalink

"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." permalink

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. permalink

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. permalink

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