苹果卖的究竟是什么?这个时代最关键的不是技术,而是心理学

(泡泡特约)苹果又推出了新款iPhone,身边不断有人问你“换了没”?换还是不换,这的确是个问题。然而这个问题恰恰是苹果制造的。

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苹果卖的究竟是什么?

苹果的主要商品之一是生物化学性刺激

1984年,乔布斯留着披头士发型、穿着闪亮的高级西装,向一群鸦雀无声的股东们推出了麦金塔电脑,这是第一款针对个人用户多方面欲望的电脑,从那时起,苹果改变了世界。

人们看到了一种崭新的技术,虽然当年那只是个雏形,却带着明确的无穷的诱惑,因为它正在向人们提供从未想象过的个人权力。随着这种技术的出现,欲望和拥有之间的距离加速缩小了,在互联网世界里,这一距离已经完全为零。

消费者体验到的是无比强大的功能,它能让你激动、产生发自内心的快感,因为你的脑中已经释放出了刺激这些感受的化学物质。没错,苹果真正的产品就是这种刺激。

很多人批评苹果公司“徒有其表、实质空虚”,但实际上苹果公司和其他个人技术公司所出售的产品一样,它确实是一种生产力:这种生产力就是让人们通过最少的努力,以最快速度获得最高水平的瞬间快感的能力注意,关键字是“瞬间”。

这不是亚当斯密式的生产力,但必须承认,这种新的、个人化的生产力,从某种更深层次上来说,与其他的生产力同样重要。人们不仅花费大量的金钱为这些技术埋单,而且会像原始社会中的猎手那样,高度关注这方面的动向,时刻期盼着这种生产力的每一点进步。

苹果发布会的收视率已经压倒了美国总统候选人的电视辩论会,至少后者只在美国选民范围内具有一定吸引力,而前者的吸引力波及全球。而且只要新的产品上架,人们就会迫不及待的买回来,与人类祖先对新武器和生产工具的狂热如出一辙。这种随时随地对高效率和更高生产力的狂热追求,可以说由苹果式消费者经济模式刺激而来,也可以说是作为超个人主义衍生品的消费者经济模式酝酿了苹果。

因为这种商业模式并不是乔布斯的发明。

苹果不是依靠市场对效率的狂热追求而发财的第一人

必需祭出老牌实业家亨利·福特。正是在他的努力下,大规模的汽车生产成为可能 —— 这一创新对个人产品起到了前所未见的促进效果,甚至完全改变了个人的生活体验、个人的定义。

福特就是为了提高个人产品而生的。农场长大的福特骨子里就有着农民对生产效率的激情追求,当他的竞争者们还在为镀金时代的子孙们手工制作豪华汽车的时候,他已经开始创造福特T型了,因为他的目标是以足够低的成本为大多数人生产,是他让绝大多数人享受到了在以前只有精英阶层才能享受的便捷生活。

福特的商业模式创新几乎主导了近一个世纪以来美国的整个经济。在这个普通人必须依靠某种巨大的非个人力量施舍才能活下来的时代里,个人权力的小小提升就足以完全改变生活

如今随着互联网带来的去区域化的进程,美国模式正在被很多国家在不同程度上效仿,其中就包括中国。生产者经济消亡了,没人会觉得有多可惜,消费者经济来了,给了人们最大程度上的自我满足,你还要什么呢,尽情享受个人权力提升的快感吧。

然而,这场个人权力的革命只成功了一半。

商家要想保持利润,就要不断售出更多的个人权力,但这显然是不可持续的,到达某一个顶点后,消费者再无法消费更多产品了。对于福特和苹果这些实业家来说,摆在面前的只有两个选择:要么数十亿美元的投资血本无归,要么就去设法劝服消费者购买更多的个人权力。

选哪个?那还用问吗。

生产的关键不是技术,而是心理学

在这方面做得最出色的是福特的竞争对手:通用汽车总裁阿尔弗莱德·斯隆。福特是农民的儿子,他不喜欢奢华,而斯隆出生于富裕家庭,受过良好教育,他习惯高标准的生活。

斯隆准确的认识到,大规模生产消费者商品的关键已不再是技术,而是心理学——如何劝说消费者,让他们更开心地掏出口袋里的钱。他是怎么做的?

如今看起来你会觉得这种方法很简单,尤其是千禧一代在互联网环境下长大的读者,因为自我表达的欲求已经常态化深入骨髓了。

通用汽车的全线产品经过精心的设计,让每一位消费者都可以购买到与他们的社会经济地位相匹配的车型,然后还可以通过不断升级到更好的车型,把地位提升的巨大快感坐在屁股底下、奔驰在宽广的大众视野中。

如果你拥有朋友圈、同事圈、所住小区内最新款的汽车,那将是莫大的荣耀啊。这就是消费者的软性偏好、后物质主义时代的驱动力、经典电影《搏击俱乐部》的故事背景。

随着经济发展,多年来美国社会的阶层身份在生活方式上的差异已经大幅缩小了,而作为新兴市场的中国,可以说才刚赶上这轮热菜。这就是为什么模仿实业家先驱思路的苹果公司需要把目光聚集在富起来的庞大的中国市场上。

动态淘汰—— 苹果出售的主要商品之二是你的面子

光买可不行,买完你就走了,消费者经济模式追求的可不是一锤子买卖,企业是要拿客户当成衣食父母的,也就是说,你要用持续购买的方法养活那群商业精英。

在过去的生产者经济中,消费者只有经过长期的自律和努力才能获得一瞬间的强烈满足,而在新的消费者经济中,人们可以更快、更有效率地获得同样的满足。从某种意义上说,斯隆创造了一种新的个人生产力,这是一种情绪性启发性的生产力,难怪你的迫不及待了。

在这个世界里,个人的生存很大程度上取决于个人与集体的权力的关系,因此社会地位是一种非常重要的武器。斯隆和苹果对此有深度了解。

他们知道,这种欲望的满足只是暂时性的,一旦你离开车展、发布会结束,对新事物的快感就会消退,而随着每年一更新的新款出现,对去年的旧款的热情也会化为乌有。保持快乐的唯一途径就是不断更新自己拥有的产品,而这正是大规模制造商最需要的。

斯隆把这种商业模式称为“动态淘汰”。他完全不避讳谈论这种策略的目的:“每年我们都会生产出最好的汽车来满足消费者的需求,下一年还会有更好的车型出产,让消费者再次觉得不满足……”。斯隆真的是天才,苹果是模仿天才。

如今,动态淘汰策略已经成为世界经济的典范,正经的 made in America。这种策略把消费者的心理和工业产出的偏好联系起来、把自我和市场联系起来。曾经由工程师和会计师控制的大型制造公司,开始雇佣社会学家、心理学家,甚至弗洛伊德学派的心理分析师……这简直是一场精彩的战争。

人们为获得新奇的感受购物,为社会地位的自我表达购物,为挽救受损的颜面购物,为缓解平庸的生活而购物,为摆脱办公室政治的焦头烂额而购物,为转移死亡和衰老的恐惧感,而购物。

全球经济已经出现了严重的失衡:私人商品的产出越来越多,而公共产品越来越少,市场逐渐向个人兴趣倾斜,而忽视了对社会利益的关注,这种倾斜是逐渐的、潜移默化的,但一直没有逆转趋势。

就是这个时代,你已经来了

不断放大的个人权力一直在增长,然而大量研究已经表明,更高程度的个性化并不能让人更加理性。

这个数字化环境太急于取悦消费者了,对消费者的个人偏好过度迎合,不论是硬件还是软件、社交媒体还是家居生活,整个世界就像一个巨大的网络游戏,你现在无止境的竞争中,并且每个人都可以随时获得无穷无尽的正反馈机会—— 你变成了一只小白鼠,不停的按动杠杆,只为了每次那一点点的食物奖励。

这就是正在盛行的、激进的自我营销文化。

但是,数字化的新工具不仅没有使追求个人利益的过程变得更容易,反而成为了追求个人利益的障碍。因为这些迷人工具的设计初衷并不是让人们变得更好(虽然消费者是这么感觉的),而是让出售这些商品的公司赚到更多的钱。

没有任何一家公司可以向消费者出售他们不想要的个人权力,然而在这个后物质主义时代里,消费者根本就不清楚自己想要什么。你想要什么取决于商家认为卖什么最赚钱 —— 你真的想要人脸识别技术放在你口袋里面吗?你不知道,但新款iPhone具备了这个功能,你就会劝导自己“它是必需的”—— 你真正想要的只是更多的自我表达机会、更多的自我沉迷和个人偏好的满足。

也许你一直奇怪,那些某领域的专业人士、自称专家和学界精英的人物们,为什么在互联网上看起来如此的浅薄,真正的知识被简化了、高度概括性以至于扭曲了,却全然不知。表达模式已经渗透了思想,并且误导了公众,甚至改写了知识的概念。其实一切源于自我表达的需求,在这个个人营销时代里,人们孜孜以求的不过是自我形象能被多少人接受认可,浅薄化就是针对这个目的的,即便是某学科专业人士,也难以把学术界范式带到互联网舞台上,因为那不是大众(mass)口味。

他们是短视者,他们所能期待的只是被点赞转发的瞬间快感,和购买新款苹果手机晒照片的快感没有任何区别。

这个时代最大宗的产品就是短视者,所有短视者都把自己变成了商品,互联网就是个超大的集市,人们疯狂的表达自己、表演自己,进而失去自己。

你现在明白为什么新浪微博要显示用户的手机型号了吧。

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