迈克尔•施拉格在《你希望客户成为什么样的人》（Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?）中表示，我们所选择的产品，无论是智能手机，饮料，还是航空公司，都在我们身上留下了强有力的印记。无论我们是否意识到这一点，它们都在改造我们。【这本76页的电子书已经由哈佛商业出版社（Harvard Business Press）出版。】
施拉格曾是《财富》杂志（Fortune ）的专栏作家，他同麻省理工学院斯隆管理学院（the MIT SloanSchool）数字商务中心（Center for Digital Business）的一位研究员认为，苹果（Apple）、宏达电（HTC）和三星（Samsung）这类企业不仅仅在提供既是电脑又是电话的闪亮玻璃显示屏。“他们的创新不仅让顾客不同凡想，也改变了他们的行为。”
Plenty of us remember hearing in grade school that we are what we eat. It certainly made many think twice before snagging that extra doughnut for fear of turning into a rotund -- albeit delicious -- elective food. But what about the things we buy? What exactly do they say about us?
In Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?, a 76-page e-book from Harvard Business Press, Michael Schrage argues that the products we choose -- be they smartphones, beverages, or airlines -- leave powerful marks on us. They refashion us, whether we realize it or not.
In a post-Siri world, we find ourselves talking to a telephone ... with no one on the other end of the line. In a Starbucks universe, ordering a cup of joe becomes an act of linguistic gymnastics and -- all too often, during rush hour -- supreme patience.
According to Schrage, a former Fortune columnist and a research fellow at the MIT SloanSchool's Center for Digital Business, companies like Apple (AAPL), HTC, and Samsung are not merely offering shiny glass screens that double as computers and telephones. "Their innovations are training their customers to behave -- not just think -- different."
Schrage has a point, but I think he oversells it. Walk down any city street or office hallway, and you'll surely spot at least a few poor saps tottering along with their faces glued to a handheld screen (I've certainly been one of them, err, this week.) While he's right that modern screen culture encourages compulsive behavior, the fact is that human obsessive tendencies predate 21st century consumer electronics.
Schrage asks his audience of business readers to design products that customers might want to use. He also implores them to determine exactly who they want their customers to become, referring to this company-to-customer request as The Ask.
"The real purpose of business is to profitably transform a customer," Schrage writes. In this sense, products shouldn't simply be commodities, he argues. Instead they should border on art. This idea recalls a passage in The Gift, a classic work by literary critic Lewis Hyde: "The greatest art offers us images by which to imagine our lives." But once that piece of art enters the market, Hyde argues, it loses some of the qualities that made it so powerful to begin with.
An iPad might seem magical to many of us, but does it really help us re-imagine our lives in new ways? That's a hefty mandate for any company, even an Apple. Speaking of Apple, Steve Jobs was perhaps the grand poobah of this business approach. "Jobs wanted customers to become as design-obsessed and detail-oriented around digital technology as he was," Schrage writes. "Apple trained its customers to become design connoisseurs."