As quick as it came is as quick as it went. The 8 of us broke new ground this evening and completed the first ever WineTable which is part of the darrenSalon Series. The event, focused solely on Apple Inc., was comprised of Tracy, Caroline, David, Abby, Matthew, Philip and Andrew and lasted for about an hour and thirty seven minutes.
There were some underlying questions that I asked before we got started and they were:
• Do you own a Macintosh Computer?
• Do you own an iPod?
• What type of company is Apple?
• Would you buy Apple stock?
• Who are their competitors?
• Are they overextending themselves?
• Where have they failed?
• What happens post-Steve Jobs?
These were not the only questions that were brought up during the conversation, but they helped guide our dialogue for the event. A large early focus was on the iPod – as everyone has owned one in the past (or currently owns one), but no one in the room has purchased the U2 iPod or another co-branded one. It was largely agreed upon that Apple is more than hardware and software, but it’s a brand that can be transcended into other areas… possibly even cars. Currently, Apple is trying to integrate and make their devices interoperable and we found this a major step in the right direction towards becoming a holistic, 360 degree company.
Apple was compared to HBO quite frequently in our WineTable. When looking at consumer mindshare and habits – we own many Apple products, and they take up a lot of our time. Abby pointed out that we wake up with Apple, we utilize Apple on our way to work, we use a Macintosh at work, and we use iTV when we get home. Apple is prominent in our life and we pay a bit extra for it. The analogy to HBO is that it costs a bit more (much like Apple) but we tend to consumer it more than other channels. If you have HBO, you tend to watch many shows such as Sopranos, Entourage, and Rome (amongst others).
David had a nice quote stating, “Apple is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.” This may be very correct as they are slowly putting their ecosystem of devices and software together. We all pretty much agreed that the .mac service was worthless to us but we’re not all in their target audience.
Towards the end, we talked quite a bit about Steve Jobs and what Apple would look like post-uber CEO. Some of us agreed that within the next year, they would put a successor in place (or start the search) as there is a lot attention surrounding the options scandal and his increased involvement with both Disney/Pixar. Each of us participants was asked to talk about where Apple would be 365 days from now, and for the most part, we agreed on the successor – but people also said that they would focus on the wireless spectrum, gaming, and one of their products would fail.
Overall, the evening was fantastic, lots of great conversation from vastly different people. I thank everyone who came out to make the first WineTable a success, and look forward to many others coming down the pipeline. The next WineTable is about Virtual Worlds and will be taking place in mid-April. You can learn more about it here.
You can listen to the Official WineTable #1 Recap – m4a file (playable in iTunes – need to find a good player for this blog, any thoughts?)
** I was all excited after talking to Tracy last night and went out today to purchase a digital audio recorder so that I could podcast this event. After quickly buying a recorder and an external microphone, I set them up and started recording the event. After the event was over, I realized that I didn’t turn the microphone on. So, nonetheless, we do not have the in-session podcast, but I posted a recap above.