The Most Creative People in business 2012
Ron Johnson is an American retail executive and the founder and CEO of Enjoy, a new e-commerce retail platform for tech products. Johnson has held executive roles at retailers such as Target and Apple, where he was responsible for growing the Apple Store concept from its inception in the early 2000s to the behemoth $50-million-per-store business it became by the time he left in 2011 to take over the flailing department store chain JC Penney. After failing to turn around the Texas-based store as its CEO, he was fired after a little more than a year. Johnson's bruising departure came amidst a $4 billion revenue loss for the company, a plummeting stock price, and a soap opera court case with competitor Macy's over a contentious line with Martha Stewart. But instead of folding his ambitions to be a retail CEO, Johnson raised $80 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Highland Capital Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz, among other investors (including himself) to found Enjoy in 2014. The company sells consumer electronics online—AT&T iPhones, GoPro video cameras, Sonos speaker systems, DJI drones—and its couriers, or "Experts," act as modern-day Maytag men, hand-delivering the items in as little as four hours (currently in the Bay Area and New York) and giving customers lessons on how to use them for free. With Enjoy, Johnson wants to create emotional bonds with his users. To do that, he knows he'll need to gather a raft of data, including email addresses and technology preferences, so Enjoy can continue to market to its customers. But Johnson—a consummate Midwesterner—doesn't want to use an iPad survey. He wants his Experts to gather intel through natural conversation, memorizing responses to input later, the way servers take restaurant orders without a notepad.