Apple’s core passion

In this 1997 video, Steve Jobs explained that Apple’s

“core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

Apple was in a very dark, troubled time when Jobs returned. Yet because of the difference the Mac made for my life as a university science teacher, a planetarium educator, and as a graduate student, I was still a believer in 1997 that Apple enabled ordinary people to change the world for the better. Indeed, until it grew threadbare, I proudly wore a t-shirt won in an Apple-sponsored contest that said, “Come help change the world.”

This video records the occasion when Jobs unveiled the “Think Different” ad campaign.

Here’s a better quality version of just the “Think Different” ad:

And here’s the text:

Here’s to the crazy ones.

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.

They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.

They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, We see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Bondi blue iMac, 1998This ad reflected precisely the way I felt about Apple at the time. It rallied the Macintosh community, and saved the company by giving Jobs enough time to develop the Bondi blue iMac.

That gorgeous machine, introduced in 1998, disrupted computer manufacturing with three revolutionary characteristics:

  • human-friendly design (sensuous shape and translucent color – good-bye square beige PC boxes! Translucent colored plastics later showed up in manufactured items as far removed from computers as clothing irons and hand tools)
  • exclusive adoption of USB (good-bye SCSI and ADB; and because USB united power and data for peripherals, good-bye cable clutter)
  • shift to the internet for file exchange (the “i” in “iMac” stood for “internet”; good-bye floppy disks!)

Our Bondi blue iMac – which still works and adorns our living room – enabled me to finish my graphics-intensive dissertation by drastically reducing the amount of time I spent waiting on Photoshop for each image manipulation. The box it arrived in declared: iMac, therefore i Am.

Over the last dozen years since this video was recorded, Apple has indeed changed the world again. By maintaining a laser focus on the same core passion, Apple’s innovation with Mac OS X, iPod, iPhone and iPad has been singularly disruptive. Apple continues to make us “think different.”


Update: Rob Siltanen, The Real Story Behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ Campaign

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