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What Makes Apple so Delicious?

By Mike Banks Valentine
Posted Monday, December 6, 2004

Trade shows will naturally draw those with high end interest and the technical knowledge that leads to that jargon spewed by keynote speakers. Enterprise-speak vendors display their wares and attendees at break-out sessions are full of techno-geeks seeking the latest knowledge enhancement for their narrow interest area. InternetWorld 2002 was no different.

But I've made a couple of interesting trade show discoveries.

1) Privately funded companies who are themselves small businesses are more likely to create applications for small business use, NOT applications that may promise to make them millionaires in a rapid initial public offering of vastly over-rated stock.

2) Privately funded small businesses are run by Apple Mac owners! The start-ups often bloom from existing businesses as a further development of existing privately held companies. Those small business developers offer software that works on EVERY operating system, not just one.

Windows, Linux, OS2 Warp, Sun Solaris, other Java platforms, Mac OS9 (Classic) and Mac OS X! Did I hear you say, that would work for anyone? So rule number one for small business use is affordability and flexibility -- those overpromised and underdelivered qualities listed on every news release ever written for software solutions.

This second discovery sort of slowly dawned on me while I've wandered show floors over the course of the last year searching for valuable tools for the little guy. I find a worthwhile small business solution and there's a Mac on the booth demo display! I quickly learned to reverse that 2nd phenomenon in my favor to make it easier to find valuable small business stuff on vast convention center show floors.

I no doubt noticed those Macs because I own a couple of them myself. I'd like to make the corollary that Mac users are successful business operators who run reasonably profitable businesses. The Mac test proved effective at InternetWorld when all but a couple of the most valuable eBiz discoveries made were being demonstrated on Macs. ALL of the Mac's I discovered prominently displayed were demonstrating worthwhile small business tools, and each of those Mac users provided software that would run on a Mac. I may have discovered a way to avoid the frustration of finding unusable or overpriced tools at internet trade shows!

The mainstream is missing here. That is clearly part of the odd atmosphere at web conferences as vendors hawk their wares from fancy show booths . . . and to whom? To the enterprise, stupid!

Individual sales for those companies offering small business solutions means income of less than $100 monthly, or licensing fees of between $500 and $2000 for those vendors and not multimillion dollar deals that you read about in the Wall Street Journal. This means that those vendors that do offer small business solutions most often don't attend trade shows because they can't reach their audience there. Unless they can also sell their tools to enterprise level Dilbert-like drones, there is little reason to hawk their wares at trade shows.

Are there any folks out there (other than Mac users) who just have a middle level interest, run a small business online and don't sound like they are spelling everything when discussing business applications? CRM, ROI, ERP, J2EE, XML and even SOAP are on the tongues of corporate suits. Are the rest of us lost and wandering aimlessly through InternetWorld, sponsored by AOL? Even the MacWorld conference seems to be overflowing in stuff only giant corporate Goliaths can possibly afford for their business.

I hope that the adoption of the UNIX platform for OS X makes Apple more successful, but I'd sure hate to see ENTERPRISE software and business users make Apple move to that lucrative market and forget what made them a success in the first place, lack of jargon, intuitive commands and pleasing, even fun to use computers. Maybe Apple could develop a GUI for corporate use that reminds Dilbert-like drones that they are WORKING after all! Don't enjoy your time on the clock, by golly! The screen is gray and lifeless and commands are full of jargon.

I'd like to propose to Steve Jobs that he attempt another launch of NEXT, which is essentially his basis for OS X. That way, if Big Business adopts NEXT with enthusiasm, we won't lose the entertaining sound effects, understandable language and attractive graphics that make Apple delicious.

About the Author
Mike Banks Valentine
Search Engine Optimization for the Small Business ( WebSite101) "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet Weekly Ezine emphasizing small business on the Internet (


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