Twenty years ago, Steve Jobs had an idea: he wanted to build an Apple store. Something sleek and iconic and unlike anything else in retail. But he had no idea how to do it. So he called someone who might: retail genius Ron Johnson. Ron tells Alex the story of what it was like to work with Steve and help transform Apple into a household name. And Ron talks about life after Apple—which included a huge and humbling failure.
The story of how Ron Johnson built the Apple store into the iconic institution it is today is a fascinating one. First, because of the way Ron Johnson came to Apple. It wasn’t the usual route, through computer engineering and Silicon Valley. He came by a very different path, and nevertheless ended up forming a deep, and fascinating partnership with Steve Jobs, which he talks in very candid detail in our interview. But I also wanted to talk to Ron because of what he did after his time at Apple.
Terrific interview, lots of Steve Jobs sprinkled throughout.
You can listen to the interview via the embedded Megaphone stream, or read the transcript embedded below that.
Side note 1: I am a big fan of Gimlet Media. If you are interested in starting a business, or just startups in general, I’d strongly recommend the StartUp Podcast. StartUp is both the first Gimlet podcast and the actual story of how Gimlet came to be. A fascinating listen. If you’ve ever heard of This American Life, you’ll be surprised at the origin story.
Side note 2: The link to this interview came from Michael Tsai’s blog. I check this one every day. Terrific.