For those of you who don’t know, I have been a Mac user since I was a young child. My Dad sat me down in front of a Macintosh SE when I was 3-4 years old, and I’ve been a Mac user since (I am now 25). I have modeled my life after Steve Jobs, and my business around Apple, and I would not be the person I am today if weren’t for Steve Jobs. His passing is tragic, but the world his vision changed is still in front of us.
With this said, I would like to share an article I wrote in May of 2005 on my Apple news and rumor website Apple-X.net. Please keep in mind I was 18 when I wrote this.
A gallery of Steve Jobs photos I took at Macworld San Francisco 2006.
Also see: The Hole Punch That Infiltrated A Steve Jobs Keynote and Macworld San Francisco
A Mac Renaissance? I’m A Mac User, Not Just Some iPod User
Articles / Opinion
Date: May 05, 2005 – 05:00 AM
The New Apple: Good, or Bad?
The other day a buddy of mine bought a copy of “Pirates Of Silicon Valley” on eBay and invited me over to watch it. Of course, I had seen the film several times, but hadn’t within the last year, so I went to my friend’s to watch the movie. Even though I knew how the story would end, I still couldn’t resist from biting my finger nails, eyes locked on the film as Gates and his chums walked down the halls of Apple. “Don’t show him the Mac Steve, don’t do it!” The nail on my right-hand index finger was soon reduced to nothing—argh, and that’s my clicking finger too. Looking back on how the Mac came to be and how Microsoft pirated Mac OS, it has never sat well with me. I cannot even begin to imagine how it has sat with Jobs all these years. So why is it that a film showing a bunch of geeks had me biting my nails harder than a 12 year-old girl watching American Idol? It is simple really, I am a Mac zealot. Yes, it’s true, I am a fanatic, an extremist, a radical. Being born two years behind the Macintosh and getting aquatinted with one as early as 4 years old, the Mac has been on older brother to me my entire life: always one step ahead of me, yet allowing me to go where I want to go.
As I changed, the Mac changed with me. In 2nd grade I scored in the 98 percentile on some tests they made me take. My parents were thrilled, teachers hailing me as some kind of genius, and my grades reflected my supposed abilities. Fast forward to summer of 3rd grade: my parents got divorced and my known universe was turned upside-down. My Mom and older sister had moved out and my Dad was constantly at work. From that point on my Mac had become my only reliable source of guidance and truth. By 4th grade I had my own personal AOL account and was exploring the internet. Soon my grades dropped off the face of the planet, and school was never the same for me. I had a tool that knew more than my teachers, I could go further than 4th grade material, I had power and somehow at such a young age, I knew I had something others at my age had never known before. This was Steve Jobs’s dream for the Mac, an ultimate tool for education, truth in a box, information, and power. Thanks to my Mac, from that point on I was a rebel, constantly challenging authority on a search for information, truth, and knowledge. The Mac followed suit, for as I grew with age, so did the Mac. As I grew faster and became stronger, so did the Mac.
With the return of Jobs to Apple in the late 90s, the Mac broke away from the beige confines of childhood and took the colorful leap into puberty. Matched with the wit previously established by the Think Different campaign, a struggling Apple had to clearly define themselves and kept those worthy from jumping ship. As a teen Mac user this was a very exciting time because it provided a healthy passionate community to be a part of. From then on, as I had been alongside those who helped define the Mac in such trying days, it was then the Mac had also defined me.
Yet, lately, I can only assume I’m feeling a bit like Woz must have felt when Jobs first shaved off his beard. Apple’s accomplishments in the past few years are amazing, but a significant change in the companies culture is taking place right now. The other day in my humanities class, some dimwit noticed my iPod and made a comment along the lines of, “Oh, so you’re an iPod user too.” He said it as if the iPod was pair of designer shoes, and it made me sick. I looked at him in disgust and simply walked away. Maybe he was too dumb to notice the “Mac geek” t-shirt I was wearing, “Of course I owned an iPod,” I wanted to scream, but simply held my breath. As I walked away and I looked back and saw him whip out his blue iPod mini it only solidified my intuition that just because he was an iPod owner it didn’t mean he would ever be a Mac user like me. It may sound harsh but I have had previous run-ins with this guy, and already knew he wasn’t anyone I would enjoy further conversing with. The fact he now owned an iPod just didn’t seem right. As I kept walking through my campus, everywhere I looked was someone wearing white earbuds, I almost felt like taking mine out and simply hiding the fact I owned an iPod. Being an iPod owner since generation one, this was the first time ever it felt like something Apple made that couldn’t identify me. Quite the change indeed, for on this day a little piece of my identity had been stolen and given to the masses.
Granted I’m still the guy that stood up in my math class junior year of high school and yelled, “Math isn’t a team sport!” in the face of my collectivist teacher after she scolded me for doing my classwork individually. She was trying to implement collective teaching methods in a public school, we were even being graded based on the performance of other members in our group. For example, we would get marked down if a member of our group did not attend class. This of course didn’t fly with me, raised by my Mac, the value of individualism has been burned into my head deeper than any SuperDrive can inflect onto a DVD. The Mac has always taught me to be myself, an individual. Knowing this to be true of most Mac users, Apple only stroked our egos further with the Think Different campaign in the 90s (although several weeks ago it was pointed out in the Apple-X forums that Apple had removed Apple.com/thinkdifferent. It was a little sad to find this out, for even though Apple stopped that campaign years back they had left that one page up as remembrance of what it was to be a Mac user in the 90’s. It is now clear times have changed).
Change is not necessarily a bad thing. I still see my Mac as the fruit of knowledge and I am more dedicated to being a Mac user than I have ever been. With the recent release of Mac OS 10.4, the Mac has become even better than I ever could have imagined. Unlike Microsoft’s Jim Allchin, I don’t see Mac OS 10.4 as a “a peripheral to the iPod.” I see it as a mature operating system ready to take Apple to the masses. After all, the Mac is of drinking age now; it is about time to let the world know things not only should change but they are going to change. Of course, this means reaching out to the other side of the fence, the alcoholic masses. As quoted by an unknown editor of a supposedly famed Mac magazine in Leander Kahney’s book ‘Cult Of The Mac,’ “the IBM PC was created by people who drank alcohol. The Mac was created by people who smoked pot.” The above quote may hold some truth in a metaphorical sense when referring to the culture behind the PC masses and the Mac elite. This ideology has served Apple well in the past but now that the Mac is of age, its clear the company has been working to leave said paraphernalia behind. Maybe selling the beer-loving guy in my humanities class an iPod isn’t such a bad thing; after all, some of the money made off him will probably go into R&D to build a better iPod and Mac for zealots like myself. Apple really seems to be on top of their game and having a lot of fun with the new iPod crowd, which I understand, but when it comes down to it, I’m a Mac user at the end of the day, not just some iPod user.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPod and I’m sure there is plenty of money and fun times to be had with them, but like I said, I’m a Mac user baby. Apple may be “the super-small market share guy,” as recently stated by Bill Gates, but as Jobs just reminds Gates at the end of “Pirates Of Silicon Valley,” “We are better than you are.” To which Gates replied, “It doesn’t matter.” Well guess what, Bill? If the iPod is any indication, you’re wrong, which is also why I’m thrilled to see the rumor Apple is working on a Mac-focused ad campaign. Let’s not forget it takes a Mac-made ad campaign for Microsoft to suggest Windows is some how creatively inspiring. Yet, the last time I checked, it was Mac OS 10.0 that inspired me to create this website and give back to the Mac community; excluding Paul Thurrott, I don’t think anyone would make such a claim in regards to Windows.
Is this the beginning of a Mac renaissance?
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.