Building Apple

Apple is the big deal now. A bloggers favorite company to rave about because Apple has done what bloggers and marketers alike are in love with. Built a dream brand. A brand based on customers who do the selling for you. Where no matter what your sin, your customers stick around. Better yet, they make excuses for you, help you recover from your sins. And they get charged a premium to boot! But Apple is an anomaly, right? One in a million? I can’t do it, can I?

Here’s the thing: You can watch the next Apple being built right now. From scratch on the West Side of Atlanta. By my friend Tony at a coffee shop called Octane. Tony started with a minimal investment in what conventional wisdom said was a terrible location. Then he set out to make something great.

He made the place cool (here’s a secret – everybody likes cool). He was a pioneer in the idea of giving away free WiFi. He hired hip, nice people. And he built relationships. When I go have a beer with him, no less than 5 people come over to shake his hand. Octane has, in 16 months, become a cult. People love going there and come from all over to do so. People talk about it to their friends. People sell Octane, for free, to the non-initiated. Octane has what Apple has: Disciples. I should know – I’m one of them.

What do I learn? Octane and Apple could be no more different, but they share one important genotype: Creating fanatics. And I learned that that doesn’t come from big ad buys or from telling people what you wish they would believe. It comes from 2 things:

1. Sitting down and saying "How can I make this kick-ass?
2. Treating people like friends.

Then later, when you do run an ad that says: "Company X provides things that are kick-ass and treat you like a friend," people will believe it.

And then they’ll point it out to their buddy and say "Dude, you’ve never been to Octane?!?"

I for one am going to kick-assify everything I can, and treat you like a friend. See you at Octane.

Leave a Reply