Zero percent science by volume

Hey, kids! Do you like science? Well, too bad, because there’s none of it in this piece by Robin Lewis, written especially for the Forbes contributor network and clown rodeo.

“How Apple Neurologically Hooked Its Customers” (tip o’ the antlers to Tay Bass).

On January 9, 2007, on a big stage at the Macworld convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. With the already unprecedented cult following of Apple …

BZZT.

Millions and millions of people like Apple’s products. The company makes demonstrably good products! That does not make it a cult. Lazy writing makes it a cult.

Steve Jobs’ grandly staged presentation …

OH, MY GOD, THE ORIGINAL IPHONE INTRODUCTION WAS STAGED?! HOW DEEP DOES THIS CONSPIRACY GO?

… would trigger an intense anticipation among Apple “addicts” …

BZZT.

Note that Lewis drops the quotation marks later on, because presumably at some point during the writing of this piece we all became genuinely addicted to Apple products instead of just kinda addicted.

… that would be satisfied only by the actual sales release of the iPhone itself.

The Macalope’s just going to cut to the chase here: Lewis is selling a book. There. Now this all makes more sense. It’s a book about retail that he’s trying to sell by yelling “APPLE IS A CULT.” Spoiler alert.

Oops, that’s supposed to come first. Whatever. No one cares.

Lewis and co-author Michael Dart are not neurologists, but they are “industry gurus,” so that makes them qualified to spew forth an idea they call “neurological connectivity.”

We believe neurological connectivity is achieved when a retailer, brand or service creates a strong psychological and emotional response that operates on a subconscious level for the consumer in a way that is typically not readily understood nor necessarily recognized by the consumer.

It’s magic, basically. We believe in magic. We don’t understand it, the consumer doesn’t understand it, no actual scientists talk about it, but we believe it. Read our book. We promise it has as much magic as The Silmarillion, but it’s a lot shorter.

Once connected, Apple and its cult …

BZZT.

… of addicts …

BZZT.

… are impervious to competitors.

You know what makes the Macalope impervious to competitors? Having tried their products. He’s tried Windows, Linux, and Android and he’s tried Dell, and Asus, and Toshiba, and he can list you a hundred concrete things that he doesn’t like about them. But surely it’s Steve Jobs’s magical brain powers that are at work, and not design, build quality, and user experience. Even though Jobs is no longer with us.

Who can forget the theft of the iPhone 4 prototype “accidentally” left behind at a San Francisco Bay–area bar in 2010 that Apple sued to get returned?

It’s so much easier to make a point when you can just make things up, isn’t it? Is it possible Apple left the phone there on purpose? Sure, unlikely though it is. But the point is that this is not a “known fact,” just like “neurological connectivity” is not a real thing, and yet Lewis is talking about both of them like they are.

In fact, search the web for “neurological connectivity” and you’ll find that all the hits for that phrase are for Lewis and Dart’s book. In previous generations pseudoscience-wielding physicians talked about “ill humors” or “the vapors.” Now “gurus” like Lewis and Dart talk about “neurological connectivity.” What’s next, a bottle of “Neurological Calmative Tonic” that will keep the devil Apple out?

Even the sleek, modern product box is designed to neurologically connect with consumers.

Wait, is “neurological connectivity” just another way of saying you like something?

They’re the ones making up scientific terms and yet we’re supposedly the crazy cult members. Got it. It is good to know, however, that if you’re hocking a book, Forbes will give you a whole column in which to do it.

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