“Boscutti’s Steve Jobs” Scene 92

An ongoing daily series of scenes for a Steve Jobs biopic.

It’s a narrative experiment. It’s not going to follow a neat dramatic arc. It’s going to be a little episodic and random. Much like the subject matter.

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It’s spring. JOURNALISTS and TECHNOLOGY REPORTERS are gathering in the only luxury hotel in Northern Virginia. They’re guests of Apple. They’ve been invited to the opening of the first Apple store. They’re buzzing.

Steve Jobs, 46, lopes in, all smiles. Wearing a black windbreaker, black turtleneck, blue jeans and grey sneakers. His windbreaker is zipped half way up, collar up. He looks excited.

Jobs motions everyone outside.

Come on, it’s this way.

Jobs walks out the front doors towards the shopping mall across the street. Journalists and Reporters look a little confused. They presumed the new Apple store would open in the upmarket Tysons Corner Galleria adjacent to the hotel.

Tysons Corner Center is less upmarket but with much higher foot traffic. It averages 57,000 shoppers a day.

Jobs crosses the street. Walt Mossberg, 54, hurries to catch up. Journalists and Reporters follow. The established business and technology press are skeptical of Apple’s new retail venture. America is in the grip of recession, Gateway is in the process of shuttering all its stores, and Apple has reported consecutive quarterly losses.

Business analysts are giving Apple two years before the company has to shut the doors and turn out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.

It’s not how Jobs sees it. He had asked everyone he knew to name the best retail executive they knew. Mickey Drexler from Gap kept topping their lists. So Jobs invited him to the board. Then he started looking for the right person to run Apple retail and Ron Johnson from Target was chosen.

The best advice Drexler gave Jobs was to build a full-size mockup of the proposed store in a warehouse before building and opening them for real. For Jobs this was like designing a product, seeing faults and shortcomings for real and modifying and improving on the fly.

Jobs and Mossberg are striding side by side into the mall.

Walt, the store is divided into four parts. The first quarter of our store has our home section with great home and education products, and our pro section with all our great pro products.

The principal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal is slipping in Jobs’ reality distortion field.

Every product we make is in the first twenty-five percent of the store. You can see the whole product line.

Mossberg nods.

In the home section we’ve got the latest iBook on display. Most of the products are running self-running demos, but you can just walk up to them and start using them for anything you like. We’ve got our new PowerBook G4 Titaniums running here, and all running mac OSX 10. All on Airport so you can just pick these up and see what’s it’s really like to have wireless connection to the internet.

Jobs slices the air in front of him in half with the edge of his palm.

Literally half the store is devoted to solutions because people don’t just want to buy personal computers anymore, they want to know what the can do with them.

Mossberg agrees.

The solutions we’ve decided to feature now are music, movies, photos, and kids. You can bring out kids into our store, and they can just sit a spell, play their favorite games. And we have the best selection of Mac education software that I’ve ever seen. So you can buy the best education titles for your kids.

Jobs knows what Mossberg wants to ask.

We decided carrying our own products wasn’t enough. So we’re carrying six digital camcorders, six digital cameras, six mp3 players, and six hand-held organizers. So you can come in here and not only can you buy these digital devices, but you can actually hook them right up to the Macs and take them for a spin.

Mossberg smiles.

Wouldn’t it be great if when you went to buy a computer, or after you bought a computer, and you had any questions you could ask a genius?

A genius?

That’s what we’ve got. It’s called a Genius Bar. There’ll be somebody here who can do service right in the store, and can answer any questions you’ve got. About you’re Mac, or about any of the peripherals or software that work with them.

Again Jobs is one step ahead of Mossberg.

And if that person doesn’t know the answer, they got a hotline to call us in Cupertino at Apple Headquarters where we have somebody who does.

Jobs grins as he steps up to the black drapes drawn closed across the front of the first Apple store in the world.

He reaches to pull the drapes open on a revolution in retailing.