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Live From Cupertino

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Live From Cupertino

How Apple Used Words, Music, and Performance to Build the World’s Best Sales Machine

Post Hill,

15 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Behind Apple’s phenomenal success was a selling machine that marketed human potential over hardware.

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Michael Hageloh, who worked in sales at Apple for 22 years, details how Apple prioritized customer relationships over revenue and put humanity, not hardware, at the heart of its marketing. His narrative pays homage to Steve Jobs, who energized Apple’s account executives by encouraging them to market themselves and to make mistakes fearlessly. Salespeople have the most to gain from this insider’s look at how Apple thrived by focusing on people.


Apple co-founder Steve Jobs helped the company turn storytelling into a potent selling tool. 

Music played a key role in transforming Apple from a computer company to a globally influential innovator. It started with the company’s first blockbuster product for mobile digital devices: the iPod, which it introduced in 2001 as an upgraded alternative to dysfunctional MP3 digital music players. Apple’s foray into mobile music demonstrated that it understood its products as creations, like songs, which people may want but no one needs. Each member of the Apple team brought his or her own improvisational flair to selling, but they all rehearsed and recited management’s scripted presentations. 

Sony could have introduced a product similar to the iPod because it owned the music publishing and licensing giant BMI. But infighting over content and licensing terms scuttled efforts to develop a digital music device as popular as the Sony Walkman cassette player. Sony lacked an internal “common vision,” which Apple had. A common vision allows a company to minimize friction and convey its identity to the market.

Apple fired...

About the Author

Former full-time musician Michael Hageloh joined Apple in 1988 and spent 22 years there.

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