October 6, 2011 by Speakers' Spotlight
Guest blog from Mitch Joel – President of Twist Image & author of Six Pixels of Separation
Original post can be found on Mitch’s blog here
Do you remember being in your teens and buying a ticket to a concert?
I was (and still am) a huge fan of music. My genre of choice is anything loud, hard and aggressive, but I’ve mellowed over the years and get as much joy out of jazz, classic rock and stuff in between. I can remember being in my early teens and hearing that a band that I loved was coming to town. First, I would wait weeks for the tickets to go on sale and then, after waiting in line for hours on end, I would post the ticket to a corkboard in my room and stare at the date for months until the band finally came to town. People often forget that a lot of the joy derived from the concert experience is actually in the waiting, anticipation and getting ready for the big day.
Do you remember the first time you ever saw a personal computer?
I grew up in a typical middle class environment. I was given everything I needed (and more) but not to excess and I was never spoiled. My parents worked very hard to give me and my three brothers the best life possible (funny enough, they still work hard and push us to create our best lives possible, to this very day). Instead of individual gifts for every occasion, the money was pooled together for something that we could all share. From the first versions of Pong and the Atari 2600 to our first personal computer: Atari 800. As technology advanced, we were one of the first families to own a PC (IBM clone) and when modems entered the market, I was right there busting the piggybank to get connected. Around the same time that I was deep diving into my first PC, two of my best friends got Apple Macintosh computers. Most people didn’t even know why anyone would need a computer in their home (this was the early days of the early adopters). True story: I once got into trouble at elementary school because I had written a book review on the computer and handed in a print-out from the dot matrix printer instead of writing it by hand. The teacher forced me to transcribe the printed page by hand on to loose leaf paper.
Old habits die hard.
I never really used Apple products much growing up and into my adult life. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been around Apple: I knew the brand, I knew the product lines, I could fumble my way through it, but since the early eighties, I was on a PC. During Christmas of last year, I changed everything. I decided to drop the BlackBerry and the PC laptops and switch to Apple only: iPhone, iPad and MacBook. I wanted to understand, feel and learn what it’s like to be completely uncomfortable with technology by causing disruption in my life. I even had a plan: I was going to start with my smartphone. I bought the iPhone on a Saturday morning and figured I would carry both devices around until I was comfortable with just the iPhone. Bad plan. By Saturday afternoon, my BlackBerry was in the drawer and I have not looked back since. Same with my computer. I traded in my Sony Vaio and Dell notebooks in for a MacBook Pro. Again, within hours, there was no looking back. Apple’s marvel was not in technology or design, it was in making technology through design a completely comfortable experience.
Recently, I switched from my MacBook Pro to the new MacBook Air (13 inch). In case you didn’t know, I rarely mention brands, products or services, but my MacBook Air is such an amazing computer that I was actually considering writing a Blog post review of my laptop (and, as someone who changes their computer more times than I care to admit, that is really saying something). I love my MacBook Air so much, that I was recently telling both Julien Smith and Hugh McGuire that it is making me a better writer. I simply enjoy the writing process and experience on my new laptop so much more because of how great of a computer it is. Imagine that. In fact, I’ve been a huge advocate for the iPad, but since I’ve been working on my MacBook Air, there hasn’t really been a need to use the iPad as well.
I’ve been down about the news that Steve Jobs has resigned from Apple. As a business owner and entrepreneur, I know that the business will roll on and that Apple will continue to innovate and change how we use technology and media. I too marvel at everything that Apple has accomplished under Jobs’ command, but I’m more down about how somber and morbid both the news analysis and punditry is. Most of the media reads like an obituary. I’m down because I can’t imagine what it took for Jobs to write that letter of resignation. To be at the point where he feels like he can’t complete his daily duties. It’s sad. Not because the world needs more iPhones. It’s sad because I’m sure he still wants to go to work every day, to think about what his customers might not even know that they want and to push people (and himself) to create the future (or, as he says, “make a dent in the universe.”). Jobs is obviously focusing on a very serious personal fight for his health and it’s not hard to link his resignation with how tough of a battle his health is putting him through.
I don’t know about you, but it’s fun to be a grown adult, with a family of my own and to still get that feeling that I used to get when it was announced that one of my favorites rock bands was coming to town, but now it’s about the stuff that Apple is doing. It’s funny how life changes. The rock stars in my life are now people like Steve Jobs.
I’m cool with that.
Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image – an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency. In 2008, Mitch was named Canada’s Most Influential Male in Social Media, one of the top 100 online marketers in the world, and was awarded the highly-prestigious Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation (published by Grand Central Publishing – Hachette Book Group), named after his successful Blog and Podcast is a business and marketing best-seller. You can find him here: www.twistimage.com/blog