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An Evening with Bill Cleary

Posted: February 25, 2013

Teacher-turned-Silicon Valley marketing guru Bill Cleary, '69, '73, returns to SUNY Buffalo State on Tuesday, March 5, at 7:00 p.m. to present “How Apple and Steve Jobs Changed Marketing,” an insider's view of the world’s most innovative company.

Watch video of Cleary's March 5 presentation:


The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Burchfield Penney Art Center Auditorium. A question-and-answer period will follow the talk.

As consumer marketing manager at Apple Computer in the 1980s, Cleary helped launch the company’s groundbreaking Apple //e and //c products. The Buffalo State alumnus then cofounded CKS Group, one of the Silicon Valley’s most technologically savvy advertising agencies. CKS was instrumental in launching several major web brands including, Ebay, and Yahoo, and provided early web communications strategies for Apple Computer, Disney, General Motors, United Airlines, and Mitsubishi, among others.

Today, Cleary is the owner of Cleary & Partners, a California-based strategic marketing, branding, and technology services firm.

Cleary’s presentation will offer an insider’s view of the last 30-plus years of Apple’s exciting and innovative marketing programs and how Steve Jobs personally transformed computers, smartphones, retail, and the motion picture and music industries.

After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education (with a concentration in cultural anthropology) from Buffalo State, Cleary taught American history, anthropology, and African American studies at Lake Shore High School in Angola, New York, from 1972 to 1978. In 1977, he completed a Fulbright-Hays scholar program at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt.

In 1978, Cleary shifted his career focus to business and he moved to New York City to work as an advertising firm copywriter. He contributed to the marketing of popular brands such as Pepsi, Pizza Hut, and Welch Foods before being recruited to join the fledgling Apple Computer in Cupertino, California, in 1981.

“The basis of this talk is a presentation that I’ve given before at Harvard and Santa Clara University, but I’ve customized it for my alma mater,” said Cleary. “I’ll talk about how my Buffalo State coursework helped me get the job at Apple, what it was like to work with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, what made Apple great, and what challenges the company faced. And I’m hoping students come ready with questions.”

This Year of the City presentation is sponsored by Buffalo State’s Institutional Advancement Office, Small Business Development Center, Business Department Marketing Club, and Anthropology, Business, and Communication departments.

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