The Big Mac question

I recently had a spiritual experience. My daughter and I went to a Place of Worship one Sunday. We were welcomed by a young follower of The Faith – I would call him a disciple. He told us about his beliefs, listened to our doubts and answered our questions. We stood at the shrine while he explained how much better life would be if we followed The Faith. We were under no pressure or obligation to part with money, but, prior to our departure, I made a substantial payment.

We headed off to meet my wife for lunch, my daughter swinging a carrier bag containing her new MacBook …

I was being a little light hearted in my introduction [and fully expect to get into trouble], but Apple fans do often seem to hold the company and its products in awe with a fervor that seems almost religious. Going to the Apple store did almost feel like entering a church. I have no strong opinions on this matter. I have used Windows PCs for ever, but I have not really had much choice – it has been down to my employers. I love my iPad and cannot imagine changing my iPhone for anything else.

My daughter deciding that a Mac might be a good option for her was driven by a couple of things. First off, she has had disappointing experiences with her most recent Windows notebooks [or netbooks – whatever]. They just seem to grind to a halt if you make them do any real work. I will not talk about viruses and suchlike, but that was a worry. She is also interested in doing some audio/video editing and everyone that she know who does that kind of work uses Macs. When I queried the “grinding to a halt” issue, the sales guy said “Let’s try”. He simply started about two dozen apps on a machine and showed me that he could swap between them with total ease. I was sold.

I was intrigued by the marketing approach. The guy was clearly a “believer”. He just knew that they had the best product and was keen to share this knowledge. He was up front about the actual sale: he was not paid a commission, so it made no difference to him whether we bought then, ordered online or made no purchase at all. His mission was to ensure that we got the right product. I often describe my job as being a “professional enthusiast” – I am paid to get excited about our products and technology and share that excitement. Maybe I should work in an Apple store? Probably not – I do not think they have any employees over 30 …

Some time ago, I was in the US and stumbled across a Microsoft store. I did not even know that they had retail outlets, so I went in for a snoop at the Surface. The guy I found there was also a Disciple. The approach was exactly the same as Apple’s. But I did not make a purchase on that occasion – my faith in my iPad remains strong.

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  • Speaking of Microsoft stores, I’ve been to a mall outside of Indianapolis a few times, and there is both a Microsoft store and an Apple store. Different floors, different parts of the mall. Anyway, the MSOFT store was very bright, nicely laid out, and certainly resembled much of the Apple store’s look and feel (one big exception, perhaps the biggest: the actual devices being sold in the store.) The sad thing is that the last time I went by there, there was literally a single customer in this rather large store. Downstairs, in the Apple store, there were about 35-40 people.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2014/07/03/the-big-mac-question/