When I was coming of age in the interactive/Web industry back in 1996 and 1997, Apple launched their Think Different campaign. I knew full well that the thing I was a part of was changing the world, and I was proud to be part of it. The Think Different campaign was well-know and widespread. It was a tool that helped my parents breath a little easier that I was going into an industry and betting my career (and my recently finished college degree) on something that was being written up daily as “a fad, destined to fail”.
My first computer I bought myself was a PowerMac 7200. I fought to keep the first Web shop I worked for on Mac as long as we could (we were on Power Computing for a long time). I spent more money than I needed to on an iPod in large part because I believed in a company who thought like I did.
But the recent Apple misstep with suing bloggers has really made me think that Jobs and company have forgotten their roots. I couldn’t agree more with this open letter to Apple from Mercury News. (Reg Req’d Link, try “firstname.lastname@example.org/bugme1)
When you returned to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters in 1997 after more than a decade away, one of your first triumphs was overseeing an advertising campaign that made a once-faltering computer company suddenly seem important again.
Think Different, the campaign’s tag line, became a kind of manifesto for what Apple would soon accomplish with such breakthrough products as the iMac, the iBook, iTunes and, of course, the phenomenally successful iPod.
The script for the original Think Different television commercials, narrated by actor Richard Dreyfuss, is a kind of poem that still lives on Apple’s Web site (www.apple.com/thinkdifferent).
“Here’s to the crazy ones,’ the poem says. “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 praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
“`About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.'”
The ads featured iconoclasts such as Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and Amelia Earhart. But the poem also seems to very much describe the new and rebellious breed of proto-journalists known as bloggers.
I still “think different”… I wish Apple did too.