Two days ago I was, again, praising my Mac to the colleagues during our holding quarterly management meeting. So was doing the other Mac user in our group. It then occurred to me that I’m, in fact, acting as a sales person for Apple.

I’m selling Apple’s hardware & system to my friends and colleagues. I do that even though I won’t get even 1% off on my next purchase for all that effort. And so do, from what I’ve heard, most other Mac users. So in a sense Steve Jobs is a Master of Sales, because he managed to turn most of his customer into auxiliary salesmen.

Seriously, though I don’t think there is a sinister plot or cult brainwashing going in. It’s in fact a common (and good) human instinct of sharing what you find good and beneficial with others. I know the pain and misery of having a Windows-based PC laptop, I’ve had many of them over the years starting with a Texas Instrument, through all brands ending with an HP. None of them has been even nearly as effective a tool as my year old G4 PowerBook is for me. I really wish all the people I care for even a bit could experience that instead of dull suffering of Windows. That’s why, yes, I try to convert them.

But how did Jobs – or Apple collectively – get to that point? Not through clever marketing, though yes, they have it. Not through cult branding, though yes, they have it no. None of those. They did it by making simply great products. Great in every aspect. My PowerBook is stable, was reasonably fast when I bought it, has tons of great features, is extremely easy to use and very rarely indeed gives me any trouble. On top of that it looks great. All that gives me benefits – ease of use (oh, the interface is so well though out I can hardly believe I used the clunky Windows so long) means I’m much more effective with than I was with a PC-laptop. Stability means I trust my machine. I close the lid down, then open it some time later – and everything is as it was. And by now I got used that, I expect that.

So the lesson for everyone running a company is that to turn your customers into auxiliary sales force you have to have “insanely great” products. Not good, not acceptable, not “cost effective”, no “price leader”. They have to be excellent, outstanding in every way. The customers must love them, which means you and your team must love the first too.

Excellence is not achievable without passion, without emotional relationship to what you do. And without that passion for what you do no one will love its results. You can achieve success, you can dominate your market – but is your life really meaningful is it’s just churning revenue out of mediocrity?