Rich Evans – Think Different

So it turns out I am a lunatic. Many of you who know me are right now nodding your heads, saying, Yep we knew that. When I saw the front page of this fine newspaper last week, my initial pride at being on the front page, was instantly replaced by horror when I read the headline.

Lunatic, it screamed at me from the page. My mother rang me, my friends rang me, everyone rang me, my nearly 800 Facebook friends, 1200 twitter followers and countless other contacts across linked in and google+ all said the same thing – that is a bit harsh.

Fanatic? Yes. Fanboy? Yes. One eyed passionate brand ambassador (unofficial of course) you bet, however the word lunatic tends to lend an air of crazy blind devotion with no thought or logic used in the decision. An animal instinct. The truth is far different.

My relationship with Apple began back in the fifth grade at school when my teacher let me have computer time on the old Apple II as a reward for getting my work done, and as a motivated youngster that wanted to play the cool games, it actually made me excel at school far more than I had previously (thank you Mr Wort).

In highschool, my dad bought me an Apple Mac 512k. It was awesome, when we first took it out of the box it was friendly. It was easy to setup, it was easy to use, and most of all, it was fun.

Fast forward a few more years and I got my first High School job. Whilst my friends worked at Maccas or Kmart, I was working in a Apple computer shop, learning everything from how to fix a mouse cable, to how to setup the latest software, it was all good training.

My early career pushed me to the dark side and I was forced to use PCs and when I first started my business, I outfitted the office with PCs because at the time, I couldn’t afford Mac computers. When we had a PC network, we had an IT company to look after it for us. However, when we replaced everything with Macs 4 years ago… we no longer needed our IT support company. Why? Because Macs just work.

So that is the historical part of the story, however let me now give you  my non-nostalgic, formed through scrutiny current point of view.

These days, I am a technology business owner, author and speaker. It is my job to understand how technology is used by consumers and help business owners engage with their customers easier.

Technology has reached a point where it is an invisible layer in our daily life. We expect it to work all the time, we expect it to be easy to use, and we expect it to do what we need it to do. Apple has succeeded where others have failed because they have gotten technology into the hands of people who would not have normally been high technology users.

The iPhone now has over 60% share of the smartphone market and has enabled the growth of mobile web browsing and social networking. Two of the biggest shifts in consumer behaviour in the past decade.

Apple are a user centered company. They understand what consumers need long before they realise they want it.

But why do they drive the loyalty of their fans? What makes people travel out from Sydney to arrive in Penrith at 1am? Or from as far away as Newcastle? They make us feel special. Anyone who has bought a new iMac, started it up for the first time and watched the welcome movie, knows what I mean. It is a once per machine experience, a bond between the computer and the user and it is something that makes that computer, somehow more than a piece of technology, it makes it a friend.

Here is what Apple said when they launched their think different campaign….

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. 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 quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may 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. – Apple Inc.

So am I a lunatic? You Bet!!