Remember the good ol’ days when Apple was an underdog fighting the Wintel hegemony? OK, they weren’t necessarily “good,” but they were fun. It’s good to have an enemy, after all. That’s what Steve Jobs believed, as noted by a wonderful account from Ken Segall about why Macs have never had “Intel Inside” branding on them. In Apple’s early days, Steve Jobs made IBM the enemy. As Mr. Segall put it, the massive success of Intel’s own “Intel Inside” ad campaign made it easy for Apple of the late 1990s to make the entire PC platform the enemy. Having that enemy keeps employees and fans alike focused on the company and the platform (in this case), a dream scenario for the company. Steve Jobs was an expert at stoking those fires, and then reversing course and embracing the enemy as a long lost—and necessary—friend. If you love Apple lore, go read this story ASAP. It’s terrific.
1999 was a good time to be a Mac user. Apple was coming back, baby! And unlike today, the company was releasing new Macs, too. 1999 saw the PowerMac G3 and PowerMac G4, multicolored iMacs to replace the Bondi Blue iMac, and the PowerBook G3 (Lombard). Those were good times. It was also the year Apple ran a spot called HAL in the Super Bowl. Ken Segall, who was then the Apple account manager at TBWA/Chiat/Day, gave us the inside story on how HAL was born and the convoluted steps HAL took to land in the Super Bowl. Spoiler: it almost didn’t happen. Quick nuggets include the voice actor who recreated the HAL voice because the original voice actor was reportedly too precious to do commercials; the painstaking process of recreating HAL’s look and feel; and securing permission from Stanley Kubrick and MGM to use the characters and imagery (respectively). I love reading Ken Segall’s stories about working with Steve Jobs, and this is another good one. Definitely check it out. Below is the beginning of the Macworld Expo keynote where HAL actually debuted.
“That’s it? You could have done this one day after our last meeting. What have you been doing for the past two weeks?” That’s Steve Jobs after many presentations from his employees, according to Ken Segall, an ad exec who worked with Apple and Steve Jobs. In a blog post, Mr. Segall used that to succinctly and accurately (to me) capture the frustrations many Mac fans have about Apple.