Think Different

In 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs created the Apple I.  The rest, as they say, is history.

What many people might not know, however, was that Steve Wozniak was working at HP at the time.  What Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs feared was a clause in Steve Wozniak’s contract stating that HP would have first dibs on any work done by Steve Wozniak, including the Apple I.

For whatever reason, HP passed on the Apple I, and decided to let Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs keep all rights to their invention, and sell it on their own.

Somebody at HP decided not to think different.

Since then, HP has been trying to copy what all the other computer companies were doing, including Apple.  If you look at lot of HP portable computers, their aesthetic is very close to that of the MacBook and MacBook Pro computers.  HP was also the last to enter the tablet PC race, whereas Apple continues to be to the benchmark for the industry.

Back in the early 1990’s I was privy to a product demonstration video of what appeared to be a tablet type computer. It had video, email, voice control, and was touch based. It was a simply a demonstration of where they wanted their company to go with computer technology.  The company demonstrating this video was Apple.  This was in the 1990s!  Why did it take so long for HP to get in the game?

What sets Apple apart from many other companies is that they choose to think different.  Google, Microsoft, Sony, and Amazon are all trying to compete against Apple products rather than creating something new entirely.  All of their products are basically clones of Apple products.  That’s not thinking different.

Although Apple only still has about 10% share of the PC market, every PC company wishes they could enchant their customers the way Apple does, and have the kind of customer loyalty that Apple attracts.

I was a PC person that converted to Macs.  I was so enchanted by the technology, I decided to work for Apple.  That’s right, I was privileged enough to work at the Apple Store.  To this day, it still ranks as my top place to work.  The work culture is different from any other workplace I’ve ever been in.  It’s no wonder the Microsoft Store is so similar to the Apple Store.  Leave it to a PC company to clone what works rather than invent something new.

On a side note, being a movie buff, I feel I must talk about a major contribution made by Steve Jobs:  Pixar.  Pixar pretty much to sets the bar for animation, so much so that Dreamworks is still catching up.  Although Pixar and Disney work together, Disney itself is starting to re-examine what animation means for Disney.  Ironically, what sets Pixar apart from the other animation houses, however, is not the technology; it’s their compelling stories.  That is what makes Pixar different.

Apple will endure because Apple’s culture to think different will endure.  It will endure because their employees, and their fans choose to think different.

Not everyone can be a Steve Jobs.

Everyone can think different.

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