As Valentine’s Day approached last week, our thoughts turned to thoughts of love. Have you ever ended up in a love-hate relationship? Or rather, “I love what you’ve done for me over the years, but a lot what you’re doing now irritates the stuffing out of me”? That’s how many of us feel about Apple these days, because, let’s face it, we have a long history of using, supporting, and evangelizing Apple products, from early Macs to the latest iPads. But despite the way Apple’s marketing always talks directly to us, it’s pretty clear that Apple doesn’t really care what any given customer thinks.
In this week’s staff roundtable we discuss just why it is that Apple engendered such loyalty back in the day, and why that support continues despite Apple — and the entire technology industry — changing in fundamental ways. The two key insights:
- Apple’s ascendance is a bit like having your political party win in a landslide election. You’ve always supported and evangelized them because you like what they stand for, and after they win, you’re ecstatic for a while. But then you realize that in large part, it will be politics as usual, and all those changes you hoped for when your party wasn’t in power still aren’t going to happen. Despite your disappointment, you can’t go back on your voting recommendations to family and friends, because that would be admitting you were wrong all along, and, more practically, it’s still better than the alternative.
- One of Kurt Vonnegut’s most enduring concepts is that of the “granfalloon,” which he defines as “a proud and meaningless association of human beings.” Whether or not there’s any actual meaning in the association of those who identify as Apple aficionados, we humans do have a drive to belong. In Apple’s early days, that drive was bolstered by a desire to find others who were in the minority of being Mac users; nowadays, the drive to belong is probably driven more by wanting to be part of the winning team.
Anyway, I don’t think anything was decided in our discussion (or even if there was anything that could have been decided), but if you’ve been pondering your own association with the ecosystem that has grown up around Apple, watch or listen to the roundtable and perhaps it will help you solidify your thoughts.