In a world in which obituaries are routinely written about living subjects in order for media outlets to be prepared for an untimely death, it would be unduly harsh to criticize the release of a book about larger-than-life Steve Jobs just three weeks after his untimely death.
As a matter of fact, I plan to find out more about this fascinating man by giving the book a read myself when I have more time, likely over the Christmas holidays.
That’s a couple of months away, which means the initial buzz about the book will be over at that point, but that’s fine.
Steve Jobs will always be a compelling story, I’m busy with other things and, quite frankly, the timing of the release is too close to his death, thus giving this book a bit of a creepy aura.
That’s just a personal thing.
Obviously, given the business in which I operate, I understand the importance of moving fast in media, especially these days. The Jobs book had been a work in progress before his passing, which most who live in reality saw coming.
There will be plenty who disagree with me about the creepy part and they will point to incredible sales of the book, which will make it an unmitigated success for both the author and Apple.
I can’t argue against that. I also felt the political aura that surrounded the recent death of Jack Layton was too much and many agreed with me on that point, even if Layton himself might have approved of the NDP benefitting from the outpouring of grief.
Similarly, Jobs may have approved of the book if it helped sales of Apple products, but the idea of somebody’s passing being a part of an overall sales strategy seems cold.
I’m tapping out this blog on an Apple product that I think is fabulous and through the purchase of it, I discovered that one of Jobs’ greatest creations was the Apple Store, where you can buy the products and be trained on them in order to use them to their maximum potential.
As friendly as my salesman was and as great as the people at the so-called “Genius Bar” were, I couldn’t help noticing how robotic they were in their training. The jeans, tee shirts and laid-back attitude seemed cool, but part of an overall corporate lifestyle presentation.
On the flip side, one of the resident geniuses recognized me from a week earlier when I’d gone in with a perceived glitch on my iPhone that turned out to be nothing. It was this recognition in the sea of humanity in the store that day that stood out to me.
That may be a small thing, but it worked the way attentive service at various golf operations over the years stood out. It’s more than just impeccable training, but a true people person making a difference with a customer, which we need more than ever in this industry. It’s about people feeling like people, not commodities.
Like many others, I’m confused by the mission of this so-called “Occupy” movement that is taking root in cities around the world, but one thing I take from it is that 99 per cent of the population is feeling a separation from big business.
Golf has the perception of being a game for the rich — and we can argue the merits of that perception as much as we like — so the question is are we alienating the people who we need so badly to make the game thrive again?
The golf industry needs to first overcome that image and it’s a big challenge with affordability, junior/family access and other creative methods to lure people, many of which have never played the game.
That is truly a tall order, but once we get them into the game, we can’t run the risk of making them feel like they don’t belong. Part of the lure of golf is its people, so we can’t run the risk of losing newcomers. Making them feel welcome through genuine warmth will overcome a cold, business environment.
While we want their business, as Apple does, we can’t make it seem like it’s all about business, which the resident genius at my Apple store accomplished quite nicely. Taking an interest in the individual and what he/she needs is important.
It goes beyond training programs and into how you honestly respond to people. It need only take a few minutes of conversation across the sales desk to chat about somebody’s kids, or his/her game, or last night’s hockey game.
In this week’s GNN Poll, we’re discussing the importance of playing lessons out on the golf course. Not only does this method of teaching help golfers’ games, but it also gives them the opportunity to get to know the golf professional a little better.
That’s important as we strive to forge relationships with the people who are shelling out for greens fees, golf balls or a new shirt from the pro shop. It’s also a little bit old school, which isn’t always a bad thing.
We’re in an era when big business is seen as big brother, so we can’t afford to make people feel like commodities and accomplishing that goes beyond training programs.
People have personalities and personalities are what draw people. We are businesses, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that we’re in the business of fun. It’s a very human thing that attracts paying customers back to an environment in which they feel comfortable and more than a walking wallet.