When I was at MIT, a postdoc heard I had just picked up a brand spanking new Compaq 386 with dual 5.25″ and 3.5″ floppy drives. He wanted my computer bad for he needed it to do some robotics programming. This being my brand new computer with all the bells and whistles, I was very reluctant, besides, I had my own work to do on the computer, what was I to use instead? He assured me that he only needed my computer for a month and that I could use his brand spanking new Macintosh SE in the meantime. I relinquished, we made the trade and I fell in love. When he came back a month later to trade back computers, I told him no, I was going to keep his and he could have mine. This was 1987.
I never looked back.
Since then, I have always owned an Apple computing product. My reasons are many but the primary ones are:
Design aesthetics combined with functionality rule. I am extremely sensitive to design aesthetics, have always hung out with artists and one time pondered becoming an architect. When I visit a city and have some extra time, I go to the local galleries. Steve Jobs was also extremely sensitive to aesthetics and that extreme sensitivity led to what I believe have been the most beautifully designed devices that we have ever had the pleasure to behold. But they are not just beautiful, they also work beautifully with everything stripped out of them but the bear essentials. Certainly a lesson here for HIT vendors and their bloated, ugly, nearly unusable software.
Supporting a renegade. Apple has almost always been a bit of a renegade in the computing world bucking traditions. This renegade spirit which descends directly from Jobs is something I have always admired and was willing to support. Yes, Apple products sometimes cost a tad more but you are not buying just a product, you are supporting a movement. It is that renegade spirit I hope to bring to the HIT market in founding Chilmark Research. This industry is in serious need of some shock treatment, and through our research and analysis, we plan to be right there throwing the switch.
Systems rather than parts. While some may whine over the proprietary nature of Apple’s complete hardware/software systems design approach, one cannot argue against its ability to provide an unmatched user experience. Yes, I’m an IT analyst and yes, I can get my way around almost any OS but seriously folks, do I really want to or would I rather just open up my computer and get to work? Thinking back on those days with that Compaq and dealing with DOS and then using the Macintosh SE with its integrated system, is it any wonder I switched? It appears that many a provider thinks much the same way I do for just look at the rapid adoption and use of the iPad (adoption now over 35% of all providers) in the last year and a half since introduction.
Supporting innovation. Simply put, without Jobs, we all would probably still be dealing with FUGLY computers and a DOS operating system. Jobs and his company single handedly made computers actually fun to use and become not just a tool for business, but a consumer product.
Our country, our industry has lost the greatest visionary of our time in the consumer electronics market. He will be sorely missed but as he stated in his Stanford commencement address, death is a necessary part of life for without it, nothing would advance. Steve, I will miss your vision and hope that the many you have mentored over the years, including myself, will be able to carry your vision forward.
Lastly, one of my favorite quotes of his that I always try to keep front of mind and live by:
Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.
– Steve Jobs