Steve Jobs' Former Publicist On How He Controlled Apple's Image
Steve Jobs former publicist Andy Cunningham on original Macintosh
Andy Cunningham was Steve Jobs' former publicist and is the author of "." Following is the transcript of the video.
Andy Cunningham:People like Steve Jobs are what I call a cult of personality and there are several of them out there. Richard Branson is one. Elon Musk is one. So they exist out there and they usually try, if they're entrepreneurs, they build companies that are trying to do the next big thing or trying to make huge changes in human behavior. And when you're working with these people they're so charismatic that it's both an honor and a privilege, but it's also a huge challenge because they have this outsized vision of what they can accomplish and they expect you to play a role in accomplishing it.
Steve was a really contentious individual to work with but he was incredibly pure in his agenda of what he was trying to accomplish and all of us who worked with him knew that he was there to change the world, and he was going to change the world, and if you were invited to be a part of his team, you knew that you would participate in changing the world.
When I launched the Macintosh back in 1984 we were actually trying to position the Macintosh as the computer for "the rest of us," meaning the rest of us in business and we had developed all of these messages—these little memes of messages— and when we launched it at the De Anza Center on January 24th, 1984 it was a beautiful moment and there were people in the audience who actually cried and all the TV stations were covering it, and all the radio stations were covering it, and I heard station after station repeating back to me all the messages that I had created and that was the moment that I said, "This stuff works." This kind of messaging, this kind of positioning, really, really works.
The issue, of course, was that Macintosh was not a success in the first six months. It actually was a huge failure and we had to shift that messaging. It became much less of a business product. It was never going to replace the IBM PC which was the initial intent, but what we discovered during those six months is that there was a little bit of a cult personality in this computer and that certain people thought this computer was really cool and it reflected their difference, if you will. So that's when the whole messaging and campaign shifted from "The computer for the rest of us" to "The computer for the best of us," as I like to say, but the computer that was cool and got into business through the back door, through the creative department, and just became a tool for artistic people and people who are creative.
I think that Apple is going to be shifting away from the cultish environment that it has today. That whole sort of a visionary, mystical, reality-distortion field environment that was there under Steve Jobs is no longer there. The company is really now about building products with great features and that is what they're doing.
Video: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs are nothing alike: Andy Cunningham
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