One of Us

Last week at WWDC, I went to John Gruber’s live taping of The Talk Show. I expected to see some entertaining talk from folks like Merlin Mann and Adam Lisagor. What I didn’t expect was Apple’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller to take the stage.

Nevertheless, John delivered and Phil showed up for one of the most candid interviews I’ve heard of an Apple executive since Steve came back. Topics ranged from design principles to why the entry level iPhone still just has 16GB of memory (at 51:45). The entire interview is fascinating and John Gruber did an amazing job of asking probing questions yet still keeping the interview light and enjoyable. It was one of the highlights of WWDC for me.

One part of the interview that stood out for me started at 57:22. I was pretty close to the stage at this point and Phil explained, “I’m in my job for one reason. Because I’m a customer like you.” Reading these words, I’m sure you are thinking that this is just a marketing guy being the “marketing guy”. However, you would be wrong. Go listen to the recording. I was watching him as he stated these words and they were completely genuine. 

Perhaps because he’s always been the “marketing guy”, I never saw Phil Schiller as one of us. I was wrong. All of Apple’s senior management team are already millionaires. Any one of them could retire tomorrow and spend the rest of their days living like royalty anywhere in the world. I’m sure they all have their own reasons for staying but in Phil’s case, looking in his eyes and hearing him say those words, it occurred to me he is a nerd just like the rest of us and he’s staying because he wants to be part of what Apple makes. Phil, I get you.