Randall Stross…


Nice, your work: Sunday | NYTimes | Bright ideas! | Digital Domain 5.27.07 (Randall Stross)

I found your observations on Apple Store, as carefully and clinically precise in their analyses as they could hope to be, I suppose, to be another reassurance of an interesting trend. And as Wendy Liebmann puts it — “it’s about emotional connection.” But what’s that, anyway? The store makes me want to cry? It’s about people? It’s about storytelling? I think maybe it’s a little of all three. “Draw me in and tell me something. Let me connect imaginatively with people who just seem to want to be there to help me. And they’re Genius(es). And so am I, perhaps?” And then what about the story?

And that’s the centerpoint of the profoundly human way in which Apple seems to explain itself. It’s well understood that Steve Jobs is a man of curious eccentricities and legendary temper and consumer-driven empathic demands; but it’s also assured that he’s a man of passion — and that he’s seemingly fighting the good fight for us. His extraordinary creative expectations always suggest that it’s “we” that are winning. And he’s really part of that story in a kind of spellbinding way that’s different from, say — Bill Gates.

And as you rightly pointed out, that human factoring is part of the huge charisma of Apple experience — whether retail or interface. And they are both the same. An Apple interface is about pleasant, clear and authentic intimation of what’s needed. It’s inherently truthful. There’s nothing darkly insidious about it — tell me what I need to do: “actually, you might let me figure it out”. And it’s the contrary with Sony’s sense of experience design, or Samsung’s — I can’t figure it out, so I’ll need your help. Hey, where are you guys, anyway?”

In any case, there’s an intriguing link up between the story of Steve Jobs, the power of the person in retail experience design, and the implications of the story that each of us has to explore (in crafting our own “digital domains”), as complexly or as simplistically as we might.

Who cares about what I have to say? I’m the founder of Girvin (amazing!) a 30 year old brand development and strategic design group, with offices in NYC and Seattle, alliances abroad, that regularly works worldwide on challenges in experience in branded retail, corporate expressions, storytelling and visualizations.

Great stuff, Randall — thanks!

tsg | berkeley