As I write this, I’m sitting on a train bound for Montreal, Canada… the home of Xsilva and the birthplace of LightSpeed. I’ve made this trip many times before. Each year, Xsilva hosts a reseller conference and I’ve never missed one of them. Although this trip is for a trade show going on this week, in which I’ll be presenting LightSpeed to retailers from all over Canada, I’ll be back to Montreal again in two weeks to join them for their annual conference once again.
As I look around at my fellow passengers, I’m suddenly struck by the number of Apple branded products which surround me. I count two other MacBooks, in addition to my own, and two iPads… within a couple of rows to the front and rear of mine. I suspect there are others that I can’t see as well as any number of iPhones and iPods. Using an Apple computer seems natural and accepted here. My laptop seamlessly connects to the train’s wifi network and I checked my email and a couple of websites as we left Union Station in Toronto.
It was not always this way. Jump back in time about 15 years ago when I got my first job at a store that sold Apple computers…
I was the only person that I knew that used a Mac. It was a strange thing to do so. If you used a Mac, you were on your own in the digital world. As the odd one out, I was used to never being ‘compatible’ and I regularly found myself defending my choice of using a non-standard operating system. Dinner parties would erupt in heated debates about which was better, Mac or ‘PC’. My PC friends would scoff at my non-conforming ways and I would dismiss my inability to read their files as trivial as I tried to explain to them how the superior experience of using a Mac justified the higher price tag… but I was losing the battle.
Those were, what I like to call, ‘the dark days of Apple’. It was a common thing to hear claims that Apple was failing as a company and Wired Magazine had run a front-page article about how Apple was going to die. Admittedly, they made some good points but they were going to have to pry my Mac from my cold dead hands before I’d consider using a ‘Windows’ computer so I continued to fight the good fight and remained an outcast amongst computer users.
Had I taken this train back then, there is little doubt in my mind that I would have been the only ‘Mac-user’ on board. Of course the internet was just getting started back then and wifi hadn’t been invented but if it had, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t have been able to use it because I didn’t have a Windows computer.
I’m forced to sit back and marvel at how things have changed since then. When I took out my MacBook, no one approached me with awe and admiration to ask me about my computer the way that they used to when I got my first iBook. Having a Mac is no longer the exception. It’s not the standard yet, but it is normal and it seems that the popularity of using a Mac is growing every day. Even my die-hard PC friends use a Mac now. They may not be exclusively Mac users but they all own one and they don’t argue with me anymore. They get it.
I’ve been a LightSpeed reseller for over 5 years now and things have changed even in that time. Both Apple computers and LightSpeed have gained enormous popularity… more than I think Xsilva ever imagined. This means good things for LightSpeed users and anyone considering purchasing a LightSpeed system for their retail store. As Xsilva grows and LightSpeed becomes more popular, we’ll see this system mature into a truly world-class offering in a realm that has little real competition.
Meanwhile, I have a choice of how I’d like to spend the rest of my journey… writing another LightSpeed Guru blog entry? Working on the next edition of The Book On LightSpeed? Or working on my upcoming LightSpeed Reporter project? It’s nice to have choices like that. 🙂