Apple Gets the Culture Code -- in Seattle it Just Rains

The phrase, "Designed by Apple in California," is born from an understanding of The Culture Code, according to Joel Spolsky at his Website. On the other hand, Microsoftis "Hello from Seattle" falls flat.

Appleis phrase, according to the software developer, evokes images of an entire state, not the one full of muffler shops and donut stores, but rather, The Beach Boys.

"And iApplei in California is, of course, on the literal level, a computer company, and not a very nice one, but put those words together and you think of apple orchards, and the Beatles, and you think of how Forrest Gump got rich off of Apple stock," the author observed. "And idesigned in California...i Itis not made. Itis designed. In California. Like a surfboard. Or a Lockheed XP-80."

The slogan, Designed by Apple in California, "triggers a flood of emotional responses that just make you happy to have selected this MP3 player," Mr. Spolsky wrote whimsically.

On the other hand, Microsoft appears to have no clue why that phrase works, and in a fit of Apple envy, has generated their own phrase for the Zune, "Hello from Seattle."

"Um... excuse me? Hello from Seattle? That has, Iim afraid, none of the same resonance. It evokes nothing. Boeing and rain, maybe. Kurt Cobainis unhappiness," was Mr. Spolskyis reaction.

The key is The Culture Code. "Itis not even clear that anyone at Microsoft would understand that there is such a thing as a culture code, although they are to be forgiven for not reading important books by French intellectuals," Mr. Spolsky concluded. "After all, theyire in Seattle and itis raining."