Steve Jobs tries in vain to sell the Macintosh

Despite Steve's epic advertising, and cooking the Apple books, the shareholders found out that the Mac wasn't selling as well as promised. Steve decided that he needed to gather publicity from a high profile computer user. Actress, Bo Derek is a self-confessed IBM PC nerd. She had just released a terrible soft-porn film directed by her husband called Bolero (Even Bo’s perfect-ten body could not rescue that turkey). Steve considered it a personal challenge to convert Bo to the church of Apple. 

He piled a Mac into the back of his Mercedes and drove to her Santa Barbara ranch. She graciously accepted the gift. Despite Steve's notorious charms Bo calcified her preference for IBM. Like many PC jockeys, she thought the Mac was a beautifully designed box with nothing much in it. What really makes one personal computer more useful than the other is what you can put in it. Applications - or apps - make the PC what it is. People loved Microsoft installed computers because developers loved making apps for them. Developers loved MS installed computers because, thanks to Bill, they were everywhere. Why pay more for a Mac when there was nothing in it to play with? A decade later, Steve would respond famously to everyone’s preference for Windows:

The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is - I don't mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way. In the sense that they don't think of original ideas and they don't bring much culture into their product… and you say why is that important - well you know proportionally spaced fonts come from typesetting and beautiful books, that's where one gets the idea - if it weren't for the Mac they would never have that in their products and… so I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft's success - I have no problem with their success, they've earned their success …for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that (long dramatic pause)… they just make really third rate products.[1]

This is a classic Steve response. His answer to anybody who questions Apple’s marginal impact on a market is ‘our stuff is cooler’. He will point to the Apple computer that resides in the Whitney Museum of Art, and he will show you the Time Magazine article that declared the Apple IIC ‘Design of The Year’. What’s clever about the ‘cool’ defense is that it’s subjective. Cool can’t be measured in units, like disk space, CPU speed, or, more importantly, sales. So he makes it impossible to argue with him.

[1] Oregon Public Broadcasting. (Producer). (1996). Triumph of The Nerds: The Rise of The Accidental Empires [DVD].

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