In the space of about two hours, I had two visits to Marketing Nirvana. It's like looking into the future. I am so incredibly privileged to do what I do and to see what I see.
I remember, in 1997, in the very first stages of the Internet bubble, standing in a window of the old warehouse that was the headquarters for our startup, and watching a trenching machine go down the middle of Townsend Street in San Francisco. The neighborhood, South of Market, was Ground Zero for Internet startups, and every single one of them needed bandwith, and lots of it. Pacific Bell could not lay fiber optic cable fast enough, and this enormous machine was tearing into the middle of an old street in what used to be a neighborhood of warehouses and garages to make it all happen.
And it's still happening. Today I was in the Palo Alto, California Apple store. It was around 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon. When I was growing up, everyone would be indoors, watching football, or reading or something. The streets would be quiet.
But the store was PACKED. And it was jumping. An absolutely gorgeous retail space, filled with cutting-edge computers, ipods, monitors, and there must have been a hundred people in there just learning about what they could do.
And now, I'm blogging from the Starbucks in San Bruno, California, down Route 101 from Palo Alto. It's around 9:30 on the same Sunday. And this place is packed, too. There are a lot of people in here working on laptops. The guy next to me is writing code. The guy on the other side is, I think, studying chemistery. He's got lots of highlighters. And thanks to Apple, I'm working away, too, while listening on my iPod to Jackson Browne sing "These Days" which, as all us old people know, was then covered by the Allman Brothers.
And another really fascinating thing about both of these places -- they're not filled with white people. In fact, as I look around this place, I'm one of only three white people here. Everyone else is something else, or some mixture of something else -- Asian (which could be Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese or something else), Mexican, Black,everything. I'm a pretty large guy, but there's a Samoan guy in here with his girlfriend who's got to be at least 6'5" and 300 lbs. The guy, I mean, not the girlfriend. The Apple store was the same way. Now, granted, the Bay Area is pretty ethnically diverse -- that's part of why I live here. But fifty years ago, there's no way you could have had all these people of all different races in here in the middle of the night without a riot.
Andrew Carnegie had libraries. We have the Internet, wireless, Starbucks and Apple stores. And it all works, it's all possible, because of marketing. Because someone listened to what people wanted, and delivered it, and well, here we all are.
And now, thanks to TypePad, wireless Internet, a Dell laptop, an iPod and some kind of slushy drink that the barista assures me contains no caffeine, so are you. Virtually, that is.