In my last post about the MacMac reaction to Apple’s announcement of their strategic withdrawal from Macworld Expo I focused on the self-indulgent sense of entitlement present in the bulk of the complaints. As I’ve ruminated more on the subject, and after reading some very well reasoned thoughts on the subject (my main man John Welch puts it all in perspective here), I’ve decided that there’s another aspect to all of this that bears examination.
One constant theme to be found in the complaints is that Apple is somehow “abandoning” the community that built them up. As others have pointed out, Apple has never given a shit about any “community.” Hell, why should they when the single greatest factor in Apple’s massive turn-around has been explicitly ignoring the “community” and pandering to the wider consumer electronics market? The simple truth is that Apple could lose all future sales from those that supported them in the lean years (and, in case anyone has any doubts I am one of that number) and they’d still make money hand over fist.
But, as I wrote above, that’s not what I want to focus on here. What I want to focus on is the dysfunction at the heart of the MacMac contingent of the Apple “community.” For all the self-indulgence, the whining, the sense of entitlement, the unspoken (or sometimes spoken) idea that Apple somehow “owes” the community something, there is a constant thread of neediness. The sense that if daddy Steve would just pay more attention to them then the MacMacs would stop cutting themselves and working the pole for money. For all that they bitch and moan at everything that Apple does, when someone outside the “community” attacks Apple the MacMacs fight back with all of the fury of a beaten trailer-park wife. “Don’t you go a hitting on my man Apple! He’s a good man, he just get’s angry when he’s a been drinking.”
So I put this to the MacMacs: Why give Apple that sort of power over you? Why allow Apple to determine the fate of your precious Expo? Here’s the thing. Communities are formed of people; corporations are not people. There may be people who work at Apple who are members of our community (Steve sure as shit ain’t one of them though) but Apple itself isn’t part of the community; and that’s a good thing. In my experience, when the official party line coming out of a corporation is all about the “community” that’s the time to run for the door. Because that’s the very moment that the marketing team has decided to rape you for all you’re worth. Certainly some companies do foster communities, and bully for them; but it ain’t gonna happen at Apple.
I have a challenge to all the people complaining about Apple pulling out of the Macworld Expo. Go there this year and send a message. Not a message to Apple, couched in futile “silent protests” or self immolation (on second thought, someone should torch themselves, for my amusementif for nothing else). Send a message to IDG. Go to the Expo and make this one the most successful yet. Network, attend sessions, buy crap at vendor booths (just not Apple’s, not that they care). Show that you can make a community that doesn’t need to feed off of Apple’s teat. I guarantee you’ll have a swell time. Because that’s what “community” is about and, let’s face it, if you only went to the Macworld Expo for the Keynote; then you aren’t really part of the community are you?