“So, Mac or PC?” Every time I’ve ever been asked this question, I instinctively know the person asking uses a Mac. How? Mac users are the minority. They’re seeking out compatriots in the battle against conformity.
Here’s the thing, PC users automatically assume everyone uses a PC, so they don’t bother asking the question. Mac users ask because the potential exists to swing you their way. How many times have you assumed that people think a certain way? Did you fail to share your ideas because you assumed they either already agreed or weren’t interested?
Would Apple and Steve Jobs spend millions of dollars inventing the iPod, the iPhone, and AppleTV if they thought their only audience consisted of Mac users? Doubtful. They believe that even if you use a PC, you’ll still buy their products. And once you buy their products, you’re that much closer to actually buying a Mac.
I think one of the reasons that Apple continues to chip away at the PC market comes from their willingness to still ask, “Mac or PC?” People talk about Apple, and they share their stories, and stories will trump almost anything. When people talk about Dell or Microsoft, it’s usually in complaint or jest.
Interestingly enough, Apple’s products aren’t perfect, and yet we still purchase them in huge volumes. (Disclaimer: I own an “old” Shuffle, won during a contest at work, so I’m not innocent.) The iPhone hasn’t even been released, and already people are planning on ditching their current phones for a closed system on one network, but the trust people have in the brand seems to be offsetting these issues, at least for now. The opportunity still exists for someone else to beat Apple in the long term. But we haven’t heard from that person–yet.
Ultimately, for your bold ideas to come to life, for people to become engaged in your dream, you’ve got to put it in words. Apple gets it. Mac users get it. You have to ask the question. You can’t just assume you know the answer. By not asking the question, you run the risk of never being a part of the conversation.
UPDATE: Apparently the battle between Vista and Mac OS X is a battle to the death. Quite entertaining.