Here’s To The Crazy Ones

I was talking recently with Heather, who now owns a MacBook, an Apple TV, a Mac Mini and multiple iPhones, and uses a MacBook Pro at work.

Heather was relatively anti-Mac when we started working together. Now, there are people who own Apple products because of her.

She half-joked that there should be some sort of referral program. Apple, she argued, should cut me in for a piece of the action on purchases made directly or indirectly because of me. That would, indeed, be cool.

But, I explained, even without a literal cut of the profits, I still benefit.

As a former Apple stockholder, I benefited financially from the company’s growth. As an Apple user, I benefit from the incredible amount of R&D and technology acquisition the company can afford as its profits increase.

Simultaneously the most and least important result — least because there’s no material benefit, most because the intangible benefit is huge — is the benefit I receive as someone who has been using the Mac for more than 80 percent of the time it’s been around.

We won.

I was a Mac user when you were mocked for being a Mac user. I used Apple, as hard as this is to imagine, before Apple was cool. I used the Mac when Apple was a niche player, when software and peripherals were hard to come by, when seeing an Apple logo in a store was a rare thing.

Today you see it in gas stations.

We won.

I still have the Wired magazine “Pray” cover. Now Apple is the second-largest company in the world by market capitalization. Not second-largest computer company. Second-largest company.

Computer-wise, granted, it’s still true that most computers aren’t Macs. But counting Apple’s new tablet computer, Apple is now the leading seller of personal computers.

We won.

And for those of us were faithful during the Michael Spindler years, that’s worth more than any referral fee ever could be.

This isn’t meant to be gloating. It’s not meant to be an “I told you so.” A lot of the criticisms during those early years were valid. The Mac was expensive and had limited compatibility and a handful of peripherals. But for all those flaws, the faithful among us saw the potential.

It’s a good feeling that we’ve finally stuck around long enough for enough of that potential to be realized that other people can appreciate it, too.