What Makes Apple so Delicious?

by : Mike Banks Valentine



Trade shows will naturally draw those with high end interest and
the technical knowledge that leads to that jargon spewed by
keynote speakers. Enterprise-speak vendors display their wares
and attendees at break-out sessions are full of techno-geeks
seeking the latest knowledge enhancement for their narrow interest
area. InternetWorld 2002 was no different.

But I've made a couple of interesting trade show discoveries.

1) Privately funded companies who are themselves small businesses
are more likely to create applications for small business use,
NOT applications that may promise to make them millionaires in
a rapid initial public offering of vastly over-rated stock.

2) Privately funded small businesses are run by Apple Mac owners!
The start-ups often bloom from existing businesses as a further
development of existing privately held companies. Those small
business developers offer software that works on EVERY operating
system, not just one.

Windows, Linux, OS2 Warp, Sun Solaris, other Java platforms,
Mac OS9 (Classic) and Mac OS X! Did I hear you say, that would
work for anyone? So rule number one for small business use is
affordability and flexibility -- those overpromised and
underdelivered qualities listed on every news release ever
written for software solutions.

This second discovery sort of slowly dawned on me while I've
wandered show floors over the course of the last year searching
for valuable tools for the little guy. I find a worthwhile small
business solution and there's a Mac on the booth demo display!
I quickly learned to reverse that 2nd phenomenon in my favor to
make it easier to find valuable small business stuff on vast
convention center show floors.

I no doubt noticed those Macs because I own a couple of them
myself. I'd like to make the corollary that Mac users are
successful business operators who run reasonably profitable
businesses. The Mac test proved effective at InternetWorld
when all but a couple of the most valuable eBiz discoveries
made were being demonstrated on Macs. ALL of the Mac's I
discovered prominently displayed were demonstrating worthwhile
small business tools, and each of those Mac users provided
software that would run on a Mac. I may have discovered a way
to avoid the frustration of finding unusable or overpriced
tools at internet trade shows!

The mainstream is missing here. That is clearly part of the odd
atmosphere at web conferences as vendors hawk their wares from
fancy show booths . . . and to whom? To the enterprise, stupid!

Individual sales for those companies offering small business
solutions means income of less than $100 monthly, or licensing
fees of between $500 and $2000 for those vendors and not
multimillion dollar deals that you read about in the Wall Street
Journal. This means that those vendors that do offer small
business solutions most often don't attend trade shows because
they can't reach their audience there. Unless they can also sell
their tools to enterprise level Dilbert-like drones, there is
little reason to hawk their wares at trade shows.

Are there any folks out there (other than Mac users) who just
have a middle level interest, run a small business online and
don't sound like they are spelling everything when discussing
business applications? CRM, ROI, ERP, J2EE, XML and even SOAP
are on the tongues of corporate suits. Are the rest of us lost
and wandering aimlessly through InternetWorld, sponsored by AOL?
Even the MacWorld conference seems to be overflowing in stuff
only giant corporate Goliaths can possibly afford for their
business.

I hope that the adoption of the UNIX platform for OS X makes
Apple more successful, but I'd sure hate to see ENTERPRISE
software and business users make Apple move to that lucrative
market and forget what made them a success in the first place,
lack of jargon, intuitive commands and pleasing, even fun to
use computers. Maybe Apple could develop a GUI for corporate
use that reminds Dilbert-like drones that they are WORKING
after all! Don't enjoy your time on the clock, by golly! The
screen is gray and lifeless and commands are full of jargon.

I'd like to propose to Steve Jobs that he attempt another
launch of NEXT, which is essentially his basis for OS X.
That way, if Big Business adopts NEXT with enthusiasm, we
won't lose the entertaining sound effectsFree Web Content, understandable
language and attractive graphics that make Apple delicious.