The humanity of Macs

October 11th, 2011 by Douglas McEncroe · No Comments · Personal Development

The day Steve Jobs died I sent a mail to my old business partner Tim O’Connor who had introduced me to the world of Macs way back in 1991 when we started our company. I had only been using a computer for one year while doing a Masters and had basically been using it as a typewriter never feeling comfortable with this PC that I was forced to use and never really understood. And so when I got my first Mac I was basically a beginner and yet I took to it like a duck to water.

Antonio Caño, correspondent for El País in Washington, recently wrote that a client of Apple quickly becomes a militant of Apple. There is great truth in this for there is something about the philosophy behind the Mac that you identify with quickly. Perhaps this was specially true for those of us, like Steve Jobs himself, who grew up in the 1960’s because against the world of the serious, grey, process driven and practical PCs the Macs represented an almost hippie like view of the world, more intuitive, arty, fun and daring to be different. Right from the start there was something intrinsically human about the Mac that for me was instantly attractive. But it was also efficient, basically introducing nearly all the features that made computers much easier to work with.

In the small consultancy that Tim and I founded we worked hard to defend a management style that placed the human being at the centre of our client’s business organizations. Some people thought that we were communist, nothing further from the truth, when you run your own company you understand that if you don’t make money you can’t continue doing what you love doing. But, as Apple demonstrated to the world, great profits are not produced by focusing on the bottom line, the share price for the next quarter or reducing your headcount to a minimum but rather by getting people inspired by a great project and getting the very best work out of them in order to produce a product or service that every one feels proud of and that your clients value.

Our own company was like that and so it was perfect that we only had Macs, we were probably one of only a handful of companies in Madrid back in 1991 who exclusively used Macs, and perhaps it wasn’t always practical because some times there were compatibility problems, and yet it was who we were, we were inspired, we took great risks, we had fun, we treated each other well, we took great care with the aesthetics and we did great work becoming the pioneers of leadership development in Spain.

Over the years our company grew and new people came in, some who curiously enough preferred PCs and even mocked us Mac militants, (although in the end we had the last laugh) and somehow, somewhere along the road, we lost our way, stopped being that great little company we were at the start, so much so in fact that both Tim and eventually left the company that we had founded and started up again.

The death of Steve Jobs was a sad jolt for me and yet it reminded me of who I am and who I want to be. Once again I am having fun at work, taking great risks, and enjoying the company of great professionals with whom I am carrying out some wonderful projects. And by the way, Tim and I still love our Macs!


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