Steve Jobs presented in 1997 and talked to the crowd about key decisions. One of the decisions that was made was to partner with Microsoft. One of the parts of the partnership agreement was a patent settlement and cross license. This was a choice that clearly was in the best interest of both companies. Microsoft had something that Apple needed, and Apple had leverage over Microsoft. Apple needed a way to stick around, to be blunt. Apple was in no way going to be able to pay the bills or so the story goes.
That’s not the most important part of the 1997 keynote. The most important part is what Steve said a bit later, that “if we want to move forward, to see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to get rid of something. We have to get rid of this notion that for Apple to win Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job.” Also - “If we screw up and don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s our fault.”
These two points are far and away the most mature statements I have seen at one of these events, and in tech in general. It seems that a lot of people have forgotten the lessons that these two points make, even those higher up at a certain fruit company. It’s important to realize that for you to succeed that it doesn’t mean that others have to fail, and vice versa.
This year I had to start filtering out my twitter feed just to stop seeing posts by others about two central topics:
- The US presidential election.
- Apple versus *. This includes Apple versus Samsung, Microsoft, Google, etc. etc.
The first item is obvious, it’s over, and we’ve all moved on mostly. Except for people on Facebook it seems.
The second however is something that we’re not seeing people get over. I no longer can go a day without seeing a post on an Apple article about how Android is better, or Windows 8 is better. The response has nothing to do with the article, but everything to do with something else, something more sinister.
Some believe that the responses we see about about people needing validation for their choices. They need to be able to convince others of this, they need others to make the same choices. Only then are they validated. I do not agree with this really, but it’s a good place to be mentally.
No I think it’s something else. Something different. What it comes down to is that everyone needs a villain. What’s hard for some to understand is that right now, for some people, that Apple is that villain. It’s not hard to understand why when you step back and look at it. Apple is successful, is proud of their products, and boast about their benefits to others. You see people using these products that you find to fit into some categories, and you just don’t get it. So you start to do the mental jump of putting them into categories. I’ve seen these categories used:
- Locked down - i.e. not configurable - i.e. you don’t control things
- They don’t tell you things, they have something to hide.
Once the mental categories are there, it’s not hard to jump to the “Apple Is Evil” stance. Once you’re there, then why wouldn’t you try to save others from this misery? Apple is Evil, you know it, and you want to save someone else who obviously can’t see it.
This simply isn’t the case for most people, most people don’t care what phone you use or what computer you use. They don’t care about your intricate knowledge of buffalo quarters either, just keep that to yourself.
They do care if their computer works how they expected it to. They care that their phone also works as they expected it to. It doesn’t matter which phone or computer or tablet they have, they just want it to work. They do care if you fit into their world somehow. They do care if they can talk to you in some way, if they find common ground.
For most people, Windows, iOS or Android will all work. Expectations are different however. The minutia is what most people argue about online in response to articles. I’d like to see that changed obviously. So for the new year let’s do something different. Let’s all agree that when we see someone responding to an article on some Apple site, that we aren’t going to argue with the people pushing android or whatever else. Let’s just ignore that and put them into a category instead. The one where we no longer care about what they have to say since we left that category in 2012 and stopped caring about their responses in 2013. Maybe if nobody pays them anymore attention then they’ll get the hint. They probably won’t, but it’s worth a try right?
Maybe once the people stop getting the attention on their points, they’ll realize that more than one product or company can win. Maybe they’ll realize that it’s up to that company if they lose. Maybe they’ll even change their definition of winning. Winning being that the product is good on its own, not just better or worse than what else is on the market. A product that solves a problem that the person buying it has in the best and easiest to use manner, not in a way that is meant to only compete on a feature by feature basis. Then maybe when they are recommending a product to a friend they’ll think about what the friend needs first, not their religion against certain products because they perceive them as good or evil.
But I doubt this will happen. sigh