Software

In defense of Steve Jobs' 'grouchy' emails

Steve Jobs gets criticized for the rude tone of his emails. But, really, shouldn't some of his customers take some responsibility too?

In a blog called The grouchy side of Steve Jobs, Mike Krumboltz tells the story of Long Island University journalism student Chelsea Kate Isaacs and an unfortunate email exchanges with Steve Jobs.

It seems Isaacs had tried repeatedly to call Apple's PR department to get a quote for a class project she was working on regarding the iPad's use in the classroom. When she failed in that endeavor, she emailed Jobs directly.

Here's her email:

"Mr. Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company's helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the Media Relations Department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance."

His answer:

"Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry."

I fail to see the issue here. Was Jobs a little curt? Perhaps, but I have to say, "Grouch away Steve!"

(And no, I don't own an iPad or a Mac so I'm not speaking from some kind of blind Apple love here. I'm just a firm advocate of crabbiness when and if the situation calls for it.)

I could be a little biased (and maybe a little bitter) after eight years toiling in the savage, war-torn land of Blogville, but here's the deal: First of all, she didn't "humbly" ask anything. She was being sarcastic by nature of the very wording of the email. She was inherently criticizing a perceived shortcoming in the way the man's company is run. Her email was snarky so why should his response be any less so?

And, really, did she expect the CEO of a multinational company with over $42 billion in annual sales to go scold his PR department for not taking time to have a thoughtful conversation with a student trying to ace Journalism 101? And what does it say about Miss Isaacs perceived value as the center of the universe that she would expect Jobs to apologize for his PR team's apparent disregard for her needs when his company serves a bajillion customers?

It didn't stop there of course. Isaacs emailed Jobs again, clarifying that she wasn't looking for the company's help in getting a good grade, she just wanted a comment. Jobs replied: "We have over 300 million users and we can't respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry."

Personally I admire his restraint in this attempt to add some perspective to Issac's life view. He probably should have begun with this reply and maybe he could have avoided being demonized all over the web. Of course, Isaacs wrote back, explaining that she was an Apple customer with a problem -- the PR department wouldn't talk to her.

At this point I would have slammed my head against my monitor about ten times and just let it go. But I guess Jobs lacks the supreme self-control that I have, because he replied to her: "Please leave us alone."

Krumboltz's blog also relays another instance of Jobs' apparent email rudeness with a story a customer who wrote to Jobs to complain about the new iTunes logo, which he believed isn't as good as the old one. Jobs' reply: "We disagree."

Customers and readers have the advantage of getting to see only the end-results of complex processes. Sometimes they forget the months of work that came before it. They often don't take in mind the multitude of details involved in giant tech undertakings. So for someone to complain about the look of a logo is like a patient who has undergone complicated heart surgery that has saved his life and then asking his surgeon why the scar isn't smaller.

Unfortunately, our society breeds in people the attitude that everyone else should consider them as important as they consider themselves. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. It would be nice if Jobs' emails helped that young lady learn some much-needed life perspective but I'm afraid that she, and much of the media, has instead defined her as the victim.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

266 comments
sawozny
sawozny

I got a kick out of the tag line associated with this message (and the fact that "grouchy" was quoted to reduce power from the assertation). I remmeber the days of Apple's "think different" campaign when Apple was a viable alternative in MANY areas of the marketplace and then, all of a sudden (and rightfully so), when Apple became the dominant player in the portable music player market space the "think different" mantra disappeared. It was a useful marketing perspective at the time (be with us if you're not one of the crowd) but once Apple owned a foothold into the technology market that became a bad idea (limiting their market to the outsiders). If you look at the origins of Apple you had a clear dichotomy between the Woz's desire to make a great computing device and Jobs' desire to make money. After such technical masterpieces as the Quadra (which were such miserable marketing failures) it's no wonder that Jobs took off to find greener pastures as he'd felt he had lost control of the company as a money making machine. When he saw the iPod and it's money making potential it's no wonder he came back to the fold. From there he worked the angle of getting non-computer people into the rapidly developing market of computer's for non-computer people (there are, of course, exceptions, but Apple's marketing strategy has focused on "hey, you're not a geek, here's a compute for you!". This is where the marketing success of the Apple brand has come from and he has worked it into a whole subset of the PC market. But make no mistake, his success has not been from the touchy-feely "we love our consumers" perspective that everyone thinks is entirely altruistic. It has been a pure money grab. Take your pick of evidence here. 1) The Apple computer sales model of selling what is undeniably overpriced hardware which people buy due to Apple's dictatorial control of the software allowed on it and the percieved quality of it (PC's suffer from their instability reputation because anyone can write software for it, Apple will only allow approved software on the iPhone of MacOS operating system and while this is supposedly for the sake of stability and quality control, it's purely for corporate control to only allow permitted content). It's a good short term strategy, but, like communism, is any ideology worth having when it takes a dictatorship (like Cuba or the PRC) to make it happen? 2) The iPod / iPad and the steadfast refusal of Apple to allow a Flash player is another great example. Is it really because a Flash player is something they can't debug (clearly not or they wouldn't allow YouTube) or is it becasue if they did, sites like Hulu would deliver free or flat rate content that good old Steve would rather deliver via iTunes or games he would rather sell in the iTunes store? 3) The most damning piece of evidence is that lack of willingness (while it's perfectly feasible on a technical level) to establish a stolen iPod registry. If they did this, you could register the serial number of your stolen iPod (on your box) and if it connected to the iTunes store (and if you just connect your iPod to iTunes, you can see clearly they have that data), the IP could be recorded and you could be sent an email saying that your stolen iPod was connected to the Internet and that if you filled in a certain form Apple would advise the appropriate police department they had the IP and would divulge it if provided with a warrant. With that kind of data a simple police report could be enough to compel a court to issue a subpoena to Apple and then the ISP to divulge the home address of the subscriber and, even though it's a relatively small dollar amount, that ability to know a stolen iPod could send the cops to your grandma's house would kill the stolen iPod market dead in it's tracks. Yet, does this happen? No. The reason why is that if you could afford one iPod, you can likely afford another and that means you'll likely buy another and continue to be a customer of the iTunes store and so will the guy who stole your iPod. Double the revenue! 4) The final piece of evidence is the multi-year exclusive relationship with AT&T. An exclusive distribution agrement meant AT&T would kick back 400 bucks a device to Apple, but if they went to the open market model, they wouldn't get nearly that much of a kick back, so they let their users suffer with piss poor cell service so they could make more money. Now, are any of these things terrible in and of themselves in the context of a business that's meant to make money a sin? No. But for anyone that thinks Steve Jobs is this belevolent God who takes his user's concerns first, don't kid yourself. In this case, maybe he wasn't obliged to answer this person's question (after being ignored by those in a culture of, IMHO, painful arrogance), but for a company that tries to perpetrate they are all about their customers (and anyone who saw the "I'm a PC and I'm a Mac" ads and watched them critically can't possibly disagree) people need to keep in mind that Steve Jobs doesn't think that differently, or bahave that differently, than any other big business CEO no matter how many black turtlenecks he wears. :)

Papageorgiou
Papageorgiou

Maybe the PR department should have answered (or may be not), but I believe Jobs' answer was perfect: short and to the point AND he need not answer. If someone cannot get an answer from the White House (e.g. via its contact page) should he/she email the President, with an attitude? Get real! (OK, I exaggerate, but I hope you get the point)

padurar2009
padurar2009

Le t be onest. it is no only his fault. He tire to do something and ..... fail.piese auto ieftine

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

"Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry." Does that include their product lines as well? If so, then perhaps students might want to re-think acquiring Apple products for their academic use.

tedbroach
tedbroach

Maybe I'm missing something here but I believe that our social acceptance of offending someone in response to an individuals lack of social etiquette or their ignorance in social interaction has gone too far... We seem to be in an area of "I've been offended" or "My feelings got hurt" and we feel that we can reply with like actions; you know an eye for an eye. Well in today economy with business dollars spent as fickle as ever Steve Jobs should be assigning someone to help this poor girl. With Apples apparent brain fart regarding their policy to lock out developers or rather make it impossible for a applications developer to make an application for the iphone / itouch series of gadgets; one of the world most popular and potentially influential tech gadget to ever grace our economy. Jobs should be jumping at any chance to better position his company and its willingness to help / work with and cater to the masses. We the masses have the ability to kill that industry in one fail swoop. Piss the consumers off and you can flush the $$ down the toilet. I guess my stance is this.... with dollars and market share at stake. Why would Jobs make such a social faux pas as this just because its not his job to help this girl get a good grade. Of course its not his job to get a good grade; its hers. But DUGH when this type of Goodwill jumps in your lap and his company didn't spent any really time on this effort what would it hurt to pull 2hrs off the bottom line to help and influence a new group of users rather(dollars to be spent) just by helping a girl advertise for you. DUGH FREE ADVERTISING as I see it!!! Hell he could have spun this to his advantage and OMG mabye his advertising department could have run with this Idea of helping college kids and getting this items in the hand of more kids. But what do I know, I'm just a user attached to my money and really hate spending money one a product where the head honcho is a prick to his consumer base? How long will that last!?! Keep it up Jobs! In conclusion to my merger ramblings; the question I for Steve Jobs is "What The Hell Is Wrong With You"? I can see the 80s happening all over again for Steve!!! Well we will see if Jobs can by choke the live out of good idea again. Maybe he didn't learn his lesson the first time. Well better luck to some other company that has people falling at his door step. On the back side of this Apples products and software are becoming more like Microsoft products and software everyday. The have glitches and the software is becoming less and less like it used to be; solid and dependable. You used to be able to count on a Apple/Mac product. Now its just like anything else. Pay too much for it, lack customer service and its always our fault from it not working. Thanks again Steve great way to end the race!

jimmeq
jimmeq

Appleites tend to wear the T-Shirt that reads "PCs Suck", just like the "Disco Sucks" T-Shirts in the 70's. In contrast there were were never "R&R Sucks" or "Apple Sucks" counter T-Shirts. To claim to want your products in the hands of students and then scoff at them, even if they are miffed, shows lack of true business spirit. I'm Old Skool...the customer is right...even when thry're wrong. Would it have hurt Steve Jobs to make a phone call and ask that the right department to take care of the student needs? Actually Jobs should have forwarded her email to the right people and request they answer her questions, an and send her email apologizing his company's shortcoming's handling her request.

Kim SJ
Kim SJ

I am truly shocked by the number of posts in defence of poor customer relations. Every person who contacts a company is a valuable resource, and should be nurtured. If they are critical, learn from them! If they are complimentary, enjoy the praise. And most of all, if they need something, make sure that you provide it, or explain why you can't (having asked yourself whether you should be able to provide it.

darije.djokic
darije.djokic

The analysis, as well as the synthesis are spot-on, well done. The only other comment I would endorse is that the support dep. could have sent a No-note cutting the thing short - if Microsoft can do it there is no reason why Apple or Google can not. The young lady asked for something that was not in the support dep. job description in the strict sense - she had no technical problem but needed data for her school project. It is really nice to hear that customer is always right and that should be always served, but we know that is as much wishful thinking as the one saying all people are equal - they are not and thus can not be treated equally (that phrase is a oversimplification of a, otherwise rightful, ideological stance that originally meant something else). It does not stand to economical reason for a provider of any sort to serve a potential customer group if in the long run the provider will lose money (and time, being the same). Those that think otherwise should consider the fact that resources are always finite and that serving such a group will inevitably reduce the quality of service that has to be delivered to those that are rightly entitled to a company support. There is no need for a company to suck-up to everybody just for appearances sake, and Jobs was right to act as he did - if the customer is unpolite it is not unproper behaviour to ask him/her to take their requests elsewhere. But, the support staff could have done a better job: for a otherwise financially stabile institution sending even a considerable amount of e-mail is not such a money-loser after all.

mike.maske
mike.maske

It is better to be attacked and slandered than ignored. Nuff said already.

arphotos
arphotos

Steve Jobs is an eccentric self worshiper, it is sad that the church of Jobs has such a control of the media. When Steve Job releases a product that is useful, current and not missing standard features of the other devices in the market let me know.

mike7488
mike7488

The first wonder is that he replied at all. The second wonder is that this has created(?) so much discussion. The web, what with blogging and everything else can be a great resource, but this isn't part of it. Which leads me to question should I post this - I will. I recall reading eons ago ... so this may be paraphrased a bit ... a question along the lines of "if Bill Gates was walking along the street and saw a $20 bill on the sidewalk, is it be worth his time to pick it up?"; the answer was, and probably remains, no.

Pooh-Bear
Pooh-Bear

What makes you think Steve Jobs had anything to do with it? That email is probably managed by some staff member? He can't admit it without making his customers mad but I don't believe he takes the time himself to answer all the emails that address must get. The clue is in the last email, "Please leave US alone."

matthewd
matthewd

1) I got to wonder if Jobs actually responded, as opposed to a grouchy secretary who Jobs is ok with. Not much difference, the implication is the same: Apple's goals do not include helping their customers; just sell product and build the company. 2) I have been using apple products since 1983, through their good and bad years. Overall, I think they have a better integrated product and can be proactive forward thinking in their designs; but getting any support and generally any interaction with the company is a dead end. 3) case in point: an OS/firmware/microcode glitch with the most expensive nvidia card relating to X11 compatibility went publicly unacknowledged for years; This compatibility is the implied inducement for the research community to buy this particularly expensive configuration. After months of formally reporting it to Apple, and for years others had done the same; I had to resort to writing grouchy emails on their website and other blogs trashing the company. Only then did they admit that in fact it was a deep bug. They could have gone the extra distance of saying they would never fix it, which is understandable considering product cycles. 4) Apple does not instill customer brand loyalty because of its corporate culture, merely its products and stock price.

jpgeek5704
jpgeek5704

Would you have been so supportive of Steve it instead it had been Michael Dell? Just curious? I don?t disagree with Steve?s response, it is a business for Gosh sakes. Just wonder if it would have been a different response if it hadn?t been do-no-wrong Apple?

B Monarch
B Monarch

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO STEVE!! As one who is sick to death of people such as this 'child', growing up thinking they ARE the centre of the universe - when WILL they grow up and understand THEY ARE NOT!! Love ya Steve and keep up the great work - Australia hears you!

jamie
jamie

I think that should be printed on a banner and hung above every row of workstations in every computer lab.

WAB6
WAB6

Apple is a greedy, evil company, and Jobs is a greedy evil person. I thought he'd reached the pinnacle of arrogance when he refused to repair all the iPhone 4s that dropped connections. I was not at all surprised when he lied about the very existence of the problem. I think he may have outdone himself with his snotty emails. With the amount of bile he spews, its no surprise his first liver gave out.

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

Thirty years ago I learned that what you do in these circumstances is call the CEO's SECRETARY. It gets results. Often very,very fast. When line supervisors get inquiries from the CEO's office, they move, and be it molehills or mountains, they get moved.

senigma
senigma

Screw Jobs.If an business doesn't have respect for their customer, then their customer's natural reaction will be resentment Apple makes a good product, but I don't worship at the Apple alter and there are other products that do the tasks I need to get done just as well as the I-whatever. I think Jobs is an elitist prick that disdains anyone that isn't a fawning acolyte. Working for him must be hell if you still have a soul.

michael.christenson@alaska.gov
michael.christenson@alaska.gov

"So for someone to complain about the look of a logo is like a patient who has undergone complicated heart surgery that has saved his life and then asking his surgeon why the scar isn?t smaller." Wow. That is incredibly off-base. It is nothing like someone saving your life. It is like someone who has become incredibly rich by selling you an premium-priced luxury item saying out loud "You, one of our millions of customers, mean nothing individually, only in the aggregate. Bugger off." Slightly different, no matter how jaded you are by your years in the trenches.

bossey
bossey

I think this is just a clever ploy to get others to comment on Steve Jobs' bad attitude without you yourself putting yourself in the man,s bad books. No matter how importantly he takes himself, he is the head of a world recognized organization that got to where it is because of it's customers loyalty. Apart from either he or you missing the first point about the complaint he also confirms that not all of Apples customers are important. Well take note Apple fan boys and girls... Steve only wants your money and admits he may not care all that much about all of you if you happen to have problems as there are too many of you. She was humbly asking, since the Apple PR department (which is expert at going into overdrive when products need to be launched but cannot be bothered to respond to a person with questions) had made her feel insignificant and small... and guess what? Their boss reiterated that she should be humble and go away. Customers participate in the success of companies in myriad ways including making suggestions and YES by complaining and often times these complaints have actually helped companies to do better or identify serious flaws. Your analogy to the surgery survivor is superfluous as it suggests he should shut up and be happy he is alive even if the size of scar means his quality of life leaves him as good as dead. Well if we accepted these behaviors we would still be in the dark ages. And actually, your last paragraph seems to describe the very behavior you are vindicating... in Jobs. Actually Miss Bowers if that is the whole of the evidence you have against miss Isaac then your blog and contributions here would become suspect. PR means Public Relations, not terse answers to customers or even non customers who may want to query something

pirate?
pirate?

Has any reputable professional checked with Jobs to see if he actually wrote the emails attributed to him? I am not an Apple fan. This smells of a hoax. I can't see Jobs being stupid enough to have a publicly-known email address. Can you imagine the 1000's of spam messages he would get per HOUR if he did? If that email address exists, I'd bet million to one odds that it belongs to an impostor.

shaunsweb
shaunsweb

The correct response would have been to say I cannot comment on this at this time I do not have all the facts. Due to my busy schedule I may not have time to address this issue. Since it is PRs job to respond to the media and the public. I would ask them even if I have no intention to reply to the lady what information they had. If they were being lazy I would start telling people to look for another job because you are not doing yours when you blow people like her off.

SkyWlf77
SkyWlf77

Quite frankly, in this day and age, it's rather amazing that he took the time to respond at all. Just about any other major national or international company CEO wouldn't even bother to take the time to respond, much less do so 3 times. Miss Isaacs should consider herself lucky to have gotten a response at all. -Jason

digital riverrat
digital riverrat

As the front man for a multinational, multibillion dollar company that was at one point in his life, Jobs should have shown a little restraint AS WELL AS salesmanship: " I am terribly sorry for the shortcomings of our PR department. I will be sure to let that manager know that students such as yourself help drive our company sales" What if this blog posting cuts Apple sales by 25% or more? People like me, that care as much how a company treats customers are going to take their business elsewhere and HP is soon to release THEIR tablet-device.....I mean, the young lady wasn't asking for a 2 hour interview, she was asking for a simple quote that would on;y require about 5 minutes of time from some PR weeny. However, she now has her quote, directly from Jobs:" We're not here to help you get good grades. Sorry."

dawn
dawn

I hope Ms. Isaacs received an "A". As a budding journalist, she's already learned the most important lesson re: reporting in the Information Age - if you can't GET the news, then find a way to MAKE the news.

g01d4
g01d4

Was this a royal 'us'? It is impressive the he reads customer email. In this case he should have added to his first reply that there's already a lot of published material that would answer her question.

gary
gary

Your position lends itself to what is wrong in IT. Everyone thinks themself to be (gods) more important than the masses, your position does nothing but to show your self-rightous mentality and the self importance that corprate america puts on it's self. A good person, a big person, an important person response to this kind of feedback would be(if they were going to respond) politely, empathetically explain their position, then instead of sinking to the lowest common dedominator, show how compassionate you are and give the comment. I mean if you are going to take the time to respond at least put your best foot forward and show some humility. The response that was given is clearly the work of an egomaniacal personality that makes themself feel better by using people as a placemat. We all have a date with a hole in the ground, no one is more important than anyone else, just some are more privileged than others and with that privilege comes more responsibility This whole exchange is indicative of the perverted culture that is nurtured in that company. Talk about hypocritical self importance, anyone who would try to justify and condone this type of behavior by a company and it's officers is as demented as they are. The light is the hottest when you are in the spotlight, and by what was presented here the principals here had a workable situation to deescalate the situation and bring resolve an issue with the general public. They failed miserably, got caught up in the minutia of policies and failed to win over(resolve)an opinion. This behavior is directly opposed to their own policy that is taught to their service reps. Do as I say not as I do(I guess)... Anyway this issue would have been a non issue if they had simply responded, "It is not normal policy for us... but since it has come to our attention... Here is our comment for your project... hope this has been a help...again be mindful that this is not our policy... so please be understanding if we do not respond to any further requests in for this type of situation... Some of the most self-rightous, self important, biased, subjective, illogical snobs I ever met come from the open-source and/or apple ranks.

BIG CHRONO
BIG CHRONO

Jobs should not try to alienate anyone, since it takes just one deranged individual to lash out with possibly deadly results.

cloyd42
cloyd42

I haven't seen a single comment on the fact that he reads customers' emails and responds, even if he's grouchy. Try that with HP or Microsoft and see what happens. That student also needs a lesson in risk management and planning if she hung her hat on one questionable requirement.

rastogi.rishi
rastogi.rishi

Whatever be the case, the same results (i.e not providing the required information) could have been achieved by gracefully declining any support. A polite "no" is a better way of handling any such scenario. A CEO should be more careful (see what a small action does ;-) - so many comments and bad press). We all know that this will not have any immediate impact on sales of Apple products but acts like these (by the PR dept. or SJ himself) will cause the pot to fill up and a time may come (in cellphone market Android is picking up like hell and IT IS GOOD!) when customers will start considering bad PR and support as one of the reasons, besides others, for not buying Apple products (I already see a few such people here).

srinivas.javangula
srinivas.javangula

First, Steve lacked politeness, which the student had. Second, both the writer and Steve Jobs are plain inconsiderate and have sense of decency. It doesn't matter if the person making a request is an unknown person or a hot shot or a media person. You need to respond one way or the other. i.e say "No Comment" Third, if Steve is so busy, then why give out your email. He could have forwarded to his PR department and asked them to respond. He wants publicity and it doesn't matter if it is good or bad publicity. She is the victim and not Steve, so get off your high horse. Steve Jobs and Apple are what they are today not because of what they do, but because of the customers who consume their products.

ismith
ismith

While I am surprised that Steve Jobs took the time to respond personally, I do believe that this PR department had the responsibility to respond i some fashion. I wouldn't expect them to take the time to answer personally to every person who contacts them, yet I would expect that, at the least, they would respond with a fact sheet of some sort. The definition of the PR department is that they are intended to interact with the public, the least they could have done is respond with, "We don't have time to give you an interview, but here is some interesting information..." A complete lack of response is rude and a tad arrogant no matter how "small" the individual making the inquiry happens to be.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

He has always been an assH..e since the beginning.

mmcguire
mmcguire

I'm glad we all have the right in the U.S.A. to have the freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press. With that however, we need to know that even multi-billionaires can do some pretty stupid things. First, Steve should have never even responded to the E-mails in the first place, if in fact they are even true. I may not be the brightest one in the bunch myself, but even I know that E-mail addresses can be spoofed. The second thing is this journalist student. She appears to be just another whiner who wants to make a name for herself off the back of yet another famous person. Here's a phrase that might help her. "Put You Big Girl Panties On And Deal With It!" I'm so sick and tired of all these little hippie kids complaining about the stupidest little things. Oh,..my feeling's were hurt,.. you offended me,.. Wah, Wah, Wah! The both of them need to grow a pair, and understand that opinionated a#@%oles no matter how rich, or important they seem to think they are can sometimes write stupid things. When she has to spend a month in a rathole in Afghanistan, or scrounge for food on the streets of America for a few months, maybee that'll humbel her cocky little attitude. I mean C'MON people,..The level of stupidity in America is growing at staggering rate. The fact that this is even a Blog post or that so many people have responded to it should tell you something. If you don't believe me,..why don't you count how many times you call someone stupid when you drive home tonight. How many people do stupid things that 30 years ago were unheard of? You'll probablly find that it's a lot more than you thought. Steve responding to her was stupid. Her not reading the friggin manual was also stupid. I'm a technician, and guess what. In order to repair a lot of problems, YOU HAVE TO READ THE FRIGGIN MANUAL! It helps. Well that's my 2 cents,..Thanks for letting me rant. May GOD Bless the U.S.A. ..We need it.

classiclbm
classiclbm

I too believe that in the business world the customer is always right. I also agree that she should have been directed to the department that could have served her needs. In business, there are times when we have to deal with difficult customers...even down right rude ones! Every customer isn't courteous, and they think because they use our "product/service"...we have an obligation to satisfy or honor their complaint or request.

rafezetter
rafezetter

your title says IT dept manager. yet you spout what you just did. either your dept. is very small or you are someone of little importance and staff under you go elsewhere for their managerial solutions. either way you have not an inkling of just HOW BUSY a manager can be, now multiply that by several thousand for CEO, especially one like SJ (and I'm neither a fan nor a hater)and consider your words again. I bet SJ and all the men in his similar position go to bed every night wishing there were 30hours per day, and for some, even that would not be enough.

mattohare
mattohare

O2, Vodafone, RBS/Ulster Bank, Santander, Tesco, Sainsbury's, M&S, first Rail & Coaches, National Express, and many more. All UK firms that are rude to some people that make enquiries. Like all of these firms, Apple is well established with a loyal following. They can ignore individuals at that level, and they all do. Even Justin James' example of Microsoft will ignore an individual when it suits them. As for economic issues, I think the UK is an amazingly glass house at the moment for making claims about others' economies. From the interviews I've seen on the BBC news each night, most UK citizens/residents (rich and poor) want to keep getting benefits from a government that can't afford them.

rafezetter
rafezetter

subject of topic is should SJ have reacted in the manner he did? answer YES - unequivacably. fact is it should never have got to him at all, but it did, so he gave it the attention it deserved, which is none, but he infact gave her a little of his time. you should go read the original blog and what transpired. She felt she had the right to request help for her COLLEGE COURSE. Not for a national periodical (who WOULD have been given the info) but for a personal course and what's more she tried to make him do it on HER timeframe, AND tried to lay the guilt trip on his doorstep once her deadline was missed. Once again I'm staggered at the sheer bloody nerve of it.

rafezetter
rafezetter

Job's knows this and it's entirely probable that a nice reply would have got no media attention at all. ANY publicity is good - ALL of the celebrities know this, why else allow themselves to be photographed falling out of nightclubs? He has played the media game for long enough to see it is a tool that can be manipulated same as anything else and here we all are spending our time talking about him and his company. Apple and SJ has entered our collective psyche just a little deeper today. If he knew this he would probably be doing somersaults with glee.

ultimitloozer
ultimitloozer

Admittedly, without the full conversation available with full headers, it just isn't possible to determine the true source of the emails, but SJ does have 3 (that I know of) publicly available email addresses. They are: sjobs@apple.com, steve@apple.com and sj@pixar.com.

ultimitloozer
ultimitloozer

Like most of the respondents to this post, you have apparently not taken the time to read her initial email to SJ, merely the fragment in this post. She asked him one question and he responded to her query without beating around the bush. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time.

ultimitloozer
ultimitloozer

This is the ONLY question she posted to SJ in her email: "With such an emphasis on advancing our education system, why, then, has Apple's Media Relations team ignored my needs as a student journalist who is just trying to get a good grade?" There was another line in the same vein which leans toward this same question but does not directly ask it. So, if you would have cared to even check the entire conversation between the two, you would see that he very succintly answered her question to him. Be informed and rant no more...

rafezetter
rafezetter

Give me a successful asshat to run my company over a nice guy that generates half the revenue of the asshat any day of the week. Then I can go home in my private helicopter away from the man and enjoy my money and what it gets me and my family. I suspect the rest of the apple shareholders feel the same.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I begin to understand why you are unemployed. The first rule of customer service is [b]not[/b] "The customer is always right." The first rule is that the customer always deserves a response. And no matter how stupid, irritating, obnoxious, ignorant, or pain-in-the-ass a customer may be, he or she always gets a polite response, even if that response is "I'm sorry, we can't help you with that," or "I have to ask you to leave, now."

Kim SJ
Kim SJ

...especially never justified to a potential customer. Jobs deserves the media caning he's got. I agree that this should never have got to him, but not for the reasons you state. It should never have got to him because his company should have dealt with the original enquiry properly. If you're going to respond, it takes no more effort to be nice than to be nasty (argueably it takes less effort). In case you think I'm full of hot air, let me state my credentials. For fifteen years I ran a company which consistently, year after year, received more letters of praise than of complaint. When you consider the activation energy required to write a letter when not fueled by anger, I think you'll agree that this is an impressive record. But if your company is not achieving that level of service, you're failing! You may be making more profit, but is more profit worth being an a**hole? What are we really on this planet for?

pirate?
pirate?

Question: why would SJ have TWO addresses @ Apple? If he does have public email addresses, my guess would be that a secretary goes through it the same way they do physical snail mail. If the person sending it isn't on the list of people he wants forwarded to his pre-screened inbox, chances are good he'd never see it.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You could then put your actual status in your biography. My primary problem was that many of your posts read (to me) that the customer does not deserve to be treated courteously. The label was a gratuitous addition.

rafezetter
rafezetter

forum "status" doesn't allow for "currently retraining, living off a substantial loan in order to do so, and you really should look beyond labels next time pal"

ultimitloozer
ultimitloozer

from the early days. When the company was small, he was probably using the steve@ address. As the company expanded, their naming conventions probably changed to first initial, last name creating the sjobs@ alias and dumping it all into a single mailbox. I have seen this type of thing at other companies that started very small & rapdily grew. It's just one way of making sure that people who have the old address can still reach him without having to update their contact information with a changed email address.