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Selling the Mac

I have been keeping my resolve about recommending Macs. When people would ask what they should buy for home use, I used to hedge my bets and suggest that they "might" consider a Mac, but now I'm much more aggressive and will say something like "Unless you absolutely need some Microsoft only application, you should buy a Mac".

Well, I realized yesterday that most people have no idea what "Microsoft only" means. I was helping a neighbor with a wireless print server that I had set up a while ago for him. It had suddenly stopped working, so I walked over to take a look. I hooked the printer back up to his computer; the computer couldn't find it.. hmm, dead printer? Maybe, but in the course of moving things around, a light came on that wasn't on previously. "Ahh!", said my neighbor, "that light has been off!". I hooked the printer back up to the print server and it started printing.. something loose inside, moving things around made the connection again. So now it's "fixed" - until it breaks again.

We chatted for a few minutes: politics, books we've recently read, neighborhood news. He broached the idea of buying a new computer and I responded as noted above: unless you need..

Now this is a very bright man. Well educated, well read.. I can hardly ever recommend a book he hasn't already read and he must be brilliant because we have similar opinions on just about everything :-)

Seriously, he's a bright guy. Former teacher, retired, but does consulting where he coaches and teaches other teachers and also proctors some online courses. Always up on current events, knowledgeable, anything but shallow, of all my non-techie neighbors, I'd expect him to know the most about technology just because he keeps up with the world in general. I was very surprised when he demurred, saying "I need to browse the web and use Excel".

Now, I'm not sure he really thinks you can only browse the Internet with a Windows computer. I know some people do think that and also think that Microsoft invented TCP/IP, browsers and web servers - I'm not joking, I've heard people say that. But I don't think my neighbor is that unaware. He might not be aware of the history of the web or of Microsoft's ignorance and avoidance of same, but I'm pretty sure he realizes a Mac can "browse the Web".

Excel is a different story. Again, he may not know the long history of spreadsheets, but there may be more to it: he may actually think that Microsoft Excel is required for him to produce a spreadsheet. I needed to get back to work, so I didn't want to get into a long explanation of available options for "Office-like" apps, so I just quickly said something to the effect that yes, he could do spreadsheets with a Mac and left it at that. He won't be buying a new computer tomorrow; we'll have time to talk again.

But it does remind me that when talking to Joe Average about Macs, I do need to be very specific and carefully explain that they won't be giving up their ability to track their budget, write letters to the newspaper, work on that Great American Novel or anything else. They won't be hampered, constrained, limited or otherwise made impotent. In fact, they'll have more power and ease of use at their fingertips than they have ever had before.. but explaining all that takes time, doesn't it?

I need an "elevator pitch": something that sums it all up quickly and succinctly. That's not easy.. I need to work on that.



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