Robert Scoble’s got a touching video on his blog today. He’s outside Apple’s Cupertino HQ and talking about his first encounter with an Apple computer. He talks about unboxing an Apple IIGS, the last in the line of pre-Mac Apples and a hugely influential machine in its time. He says:
That was the time I knew my life was going to be different from my dad’sRobert Scoble on Steve Jobs
And I cried as he said it because I recognise that experience. I unboxed my first Mac in my student flat in Camberwell in 1985 (having basically browbeaten my own father into buying it for me). And that was my giant fork in the road. I’m wondering how many other lives forked radically with the arrival of one of Mr Jobs’ products and whether you could calculate the cumulative value of all those huge, personal changes of direction? What kind of number would that be? An incalculably large one, I should think.
Er, excuse me for blurting out my first reaction but have you lost your mind? An Apple takeover of Vivendi Universal Music will inevitably be a disaster. Much as I love the cat-among-the-pigeons potential of a tech counter-strike deep in the heart of showbiz-land, we now have decades of evidence that mega-mergers like this one almost always destroy value (and sometimes wipe out the merging businesses).
Here’s an idea: resist the mechanical logic of a merger – “we got a platform, they got content” – the kind of logic that produced AOL/Time Warner. Leave Vivendi Universal to dispose of its music division to some old school media mug and spend that cash pile on technology, design and marketing – stuff that will more directly produce high margin sales which is what a 2% market share luxury goods player like Apple needs most. Thanks to Jack Schofield at Online Blog for the the link.
I’ve used and owned Macs since 1985. Although they’re pretty hip again these days (after a miserable decade or so of grim, beige things), the core of the Mac userbase is like me: old gits with hair growing out of their ears. We’re stuck in our ways and we can’t change now so that’s that. The nice people at Stanford University Library are attempting a proper history of the machine’s early days (as part of a larger project documenting Silicon Valley itself). There’s some genuinely fascinating material here – memos, early sketches, engineering drawings, first person recollections. Thanks to LinkMachineGo for linking to The Making of Macintosh. Incidentally, I learn that, over the years, I’ve owned five of the Ten Worst Macs Ever. I’m selling two of them: an ugly all-in-one Performa 5320 and a lamentably underpowered IIvx, in case you’re interested.