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The Rodney O. Lain Archive

Mac Advocates and Misplaced Zeal

Rodney O. Lain - 1999.10.21

This article was originally published on The iMac.com, a site which no longer exists. It is copyright 1999 by RAC Enterprises, which also seems to no longer exist. It is thus reprinted here without permission (which we would gladly obtain if possible). Links have been retained when possible, but many go to the Internet Wayback Machine.

Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.
 - Acts 5: 38-39

Q. What is the hardest thing you, as an evangelist, ever had to do?
A. Admit to myself that despite all the evangelism that I did, Microsoft Windows was going to control the world.
 - Guy Kawasaki

"Dear 'Guy' (I just realized that I don't even know your name - not the aforementioned Guy Kawasaki),

"I don't like to offend people intentionally, but it seems I offended you anyway.

"You're a pretty likable by all accounts, and you don't really cause trouble in the store - that I know of. I'm sure that you read the Mac 'nets, so I want to be sure to say everything that I want to say this time, since I was too busy to talk with you at length this weekend.

"You probably were surprised that I blew up at you the other day. It wasn't planned, and honestly, I don't regret it.

"I didn't know any better way to say it; God, I don't even know if you heard everything that I said, because therein was my biggest frustration expressed.

"Try to understand my position. I used to do the same things you do: I used to visit computer stores and defend the Mac. I would literally sell computers to customers. I maintained the same siege mentality that you seem to be upholding. Today, however, a siege mentality is an anachronism for us Mac users - it's no longer necessary. Like I did, you need to do some self-evaluation. Like I did, you need to see yourself as customers see you now: a person with misplaced zeal; a person who appears to have some Apple-lyptic mission to convert people by sheer force of will.

"This is how you are coming across.

"I wasn't going to say anything, but it became necessary. Nowadays, Apple Computer is a mainstream company that in many ways no longer needs us 'evangelists' to support the products and 'get the word out.' In the old days (which were not too long ago), Apple needed all the help it could get, since its management was ostensibly clueless.

"But, I hope you can see now that you don't need to devote as much time as you do now to hawking Mac wares in our store.

  • Please don't spend all day arguing with the Intel rep (that's my job :-). No, seriously, it just isn't professional, and I'd like to think that Apple would prefer if we Mac supporters would present a more mainstream image.
  • We do not need any sales help in the store. I do appreciate your zeal (sometimes I come across as a zealot in this column myself, so I can relate). On several occasions, I asked you if you'd like to apply for a job. I also asked you if you'd like to apply for a Demo Days' position. You declined both times. Yet, you remain in the stores all day. Doesn't this seem a tad odd from a more objective standpoint?
  • You asked me if I meant everything that I said when I told you that I was tired of you being in the store. I said yes. I feel bad that I said it, but any other response would be a lie.

"These are painful things that need to be said. Many of them may be things that needed to be said to me in my most zealous moments.

"They need to be said, because Apple, Inc., and its Macintosh is entering a period of newfound celebrity. Customer satisfaction is high; public relations are a breeze. More and more people are switching to the Mac platform, in spite of the people who wish Apple would dry up and die (yes, believe it or not, there are people who will never use a Mac, due to bad past experiences or due to strong pro-Wintel preference). As for those who do buy Macs, though, they will need outgoing Mac users like you to help them make the transition.

"But what we need is a little more maturity than in times past. In the past it was excusable, because we were a persecuted minority. Every warm body was needed. Today, the Mac is a viable option; a mainstream choice.

"It's time we start acting like it."

Editor's Special Announcement: Did you like this editorial? I always LOVE Rodney's view of our world, as I'm sure you do, too. Well, if you want a double dose of Rodney every week, then you must subscribe to The iMac.com Newsletter. There will be a bonus column from Rodney every week in the newsletter, so sign up now. Hope you join us - over 10,000 subscribers can't be wrong! [Editor's note: If you have these bonus columns, please email them to Dan Knight - thanks!]

Rodney O. Lain, a former university English and journalism instructor, works full-time as a software developer and works part-time at a local CompUSA Apple Store Within A Store. A card-carrying member of the local Macintosh User Group Mini'app'les, Rodney writes this column exclusively for theimac.com. His greatest desire is to become an African-American Guy Kawasaki. A self-professed "workaholic writer," he waxes prolifically about race, religion, and the "right OS" at "Free Your Mind & Your Behind Will Follow", his unabashedly pro-Mac website. When he's not cranking out his column, he collects John Byrne comic books, jogs, and attempts to complete his first novel. He lives in Eagan, Minnesota, a southern suburb of St. Paul.

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