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Is That Why Steve Jobs Doesn't Reply To My Email? Or My Phone Calls? Or My Visits To His Home?

Short Take - Is That Why Steve Jobs Doesn't Reply To My Email? Or My Phone Calls? Or My Visits To His Home?

by , 8:10 AM EST, January 30th, 2002

I don’t mean to single out well-meaning Mac users, but it can't be helped. Just consider this "short take" to be a dose of tough love. And remember: I love you, gentle reader. Really.

You've probably heard that Apple released a computer the day before yesterday that finally broke the 1 Ghz barrier. At the bottom of the article, there were a couple of reader responses that basically said that Apple once again "toasts" the Pentium.

I cringed when I read that, because I doubt that it is true (do you really think Apple would have made such a low-key announcement if the new machines "toast" the Intel 2+ Ghz processors?). I also cringed because that was prima facie evidence that 'true-believer' Mac fanaticism was rearing its ugly head again, and we don't need that any more.

Don't get me wrong. I love my Mac. Ask anyone, but I no longer feel the urge to "help Apple" by going into Best Buy and "converting" the "ignorant" people who use "Pee Cees." I don't spend hours in CompUSA making sure that the sales people know that Apple is working on an "iWalk" that will give the company 40 percent market share. And I don't write columns for Mac Web sites praising Apple…

Uh, waitminute. Scratch that last remark from the record, Your Honor. (Ahem.)

But, I do agree that fanaticism, er, evangelism, is more than passé -- especially if you're doing it unsolicited in public. Heck, I've written these comments on more than one occasion at more than one Mac Web site: Everything about the Mac is not holy, though I hope that my humor is transparent when I write and say just such things from time to time (hey, gotta play to the home crowd).

So, why am I repeating myself by saying all of this again? Because Matt Johnston reminded me to with his piece, "Apple Doesn't Need Zealots," over at OS Opinion.com.

Matt writes:

What I believe Apple does not seek is evangelists who are unpaid and unwanted zealots. This ancient article from USA Today highlights the problem.

Zealots are unreasonable, in that they cannot be reasoned with. Zealots will religiously defend the object of their affection with words and even actions. Some will be content to blast away at the heretics with profanity and threats. Others will send polite missives carefully crafted after hours of thought and loaded with characteristic underlying sarcasm and holier-than-thou sentiments.

[Emphasis mine.]

I hope that quote struck a nerve. And it if has, I hope that you will ponder it long and hard. To paraphrase: Apple has stores nowadays, manned with people who are paid to promote the product and the brand. And even if they don't have a 'Mac guy' in your store, you may hurt 'The Cause' more than help it with your 'free advice.' You may make Apple look bad with your, uh, holy zeal. Think Jehovah's Witnesses.

In case it isn't sinking in yet, I'll let Matt continue:

But Apple merely tolerates zealots. Zealots are bad for business. They use woolly terms like "TCO" and "more elegant," when what they really need to be doing is showing a little impartial maturity.

'Nuff said?

It's a proud thing to have customers devoted to your product, but if you really want to help Apple, go out right now and 1) buy some Apple stock or 2) buy some Apple product -- some Mac zealots still have Performas and are trying to 'evangelize' the masses. You will do Apple more good by buying something than trying to get others to buy something.

There is a word for groups of people who spend their every waking moment trying to convert others by bashing all other ideology and seeing no wrong in their object of fanaticism. It's called a cult. They have doctors that can help with that now, you know.

You can read Johnston's whole article right here.

Rodney O. Lain has ended his eight-year jihad against the PC infidels. The last straw? His Macintosh Resistance Movement brothers are taking flying lessons near Redmond, WA -- they didn't want to learn how to land or take off -- just steer. Microsoft beefed up security afterwards. When he isn't talking sense into his compatriots, Rodney writes his iBrotha column and the occasional editorial for The Mac Observer. He lives in Minnesota, where he works for The Man, as a mild-mannered IT supervisor at a Fortune 50 company.

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