For the past few days, I’ve been struggling with trying to make my Apple computer operate in the PC world. It has not been fun. Some software just isn’t made for a Mac. And some Mac software just doesn’t play nice with PCs. Yet, because a project I’m working on is a collaboration with folks on PCs, I’ve had to spend hours languishing in telephone service desk limbo to get the kinks worked out. I’m nearly there. I have hope.
I’ve been an Apple/Mac evangelist since 1988. I started in desktop publishing, which, at the time was the term for state-of-the-art graphic design. (OK, so now I’ve managed to really date myself.) The truth remains that most creative types, writers and graphic designers included, grew up pouring their brains and dreams into an Apple interface.
Conversely, much of the corporate world lives in the PC universe. Accountants, office workers, and blue suit with red tie middle managers spend their lives in front of a PC screen.
Generally, the two worlds don’t collide. We line up on either side of the divide and dig in.
Then last year, I was forced kicking and screaming to work on a PC machine. It was unpleasant after 20+ years of professional effort to be lost in front of a computer. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. I couldn’t find anything. I couldn’t make the darn thing do what I wanted it to do. Calling for help for the simplest of tasks was embarrassing, unpleasant and it wasted a lot of my time. Eventually, I got used to it. I found that the PC did some things well, even, (gasp!), better than my beloved Apple. But for the most part, my Apple at home still made my heart sing.
I wonder what this says about us as the human race that we have so much difficulty with change? And what else it says about the power of strong brand identities? Even though laptop PC’s are generally one-third of the cost of the brand new 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro on my desk, I wouldn’t even consider buying a PC. I spend way too much of my life in front of a computer to compromise with a system that I just don’t like. Sorry, PC people. That’s just how it feels to me. And as a consumer, feel is everything. Isn’t that right, marketers? How the product makes a customer feel is what drives the purchase.
Yet, this week, I’ve been stymied and crippled by the inadequacies of both PC and Mac engineers to make their products talk to one another. And so, out of self-preservation, as well as marketing bravado, I propose that the PC people and the Mac people learn to like one another. Please, software developers, make versions that come complete and operational for both systems. Please cross-train your help desk folks on both computer languages. Please build a bridge across the chasm. Haven’t we got enough separation in our lives? If we can’t make peace in the Middle East a reality, can’t we at least make peace on our desktops?
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.