Monday, June 09, 2008

Shut up and drink the Kool-aid
Today Saint Steve of Jobs gave his Sermon on the Mount at the Apple Developer's Conference. Gee, and I missed it. How will I endure the shame? (For the record, I refuse to link to any news item about this.)

As a proud ex-Apple employee (for the record, I quit -- I was not fired) I cannot tell you how frickin' happy I am to not have had to listen to his drivel again. Every keynote speech he gives is simulcast to the Apple "campus" where hoards of badge-wearing, Kool-aid drinking, brain-washed zealots cheer every lame joke, every new announcement. It's completely terrifying, really. From an anthropological viewpoint it's actually a fascinating example in the herd mentality. For me, it was a great excuse for people watching as I'd stare, bored out of my non-brainwashed-brain, at the rapt expression on the faces of the masses.

I was completely not an Apple person. I didn't think the iPhone was equivalent to the Second Coming. I did, however, think it was an awful place to work. Bad environment. Complete lack of creative freedom. And a ridiculous waste of talent. They'd hire wonderfully inventive, totally creative minds and then refuse to let them have any individual thought whatsoever. Only a few people there were allowed to have ideas. The rest of the drones were simply there to do the work that other people came up with. It didn't matter if your idea was better -- if you weren't on the hip kids bench, you were basically equivalent to doggy poopy.

But the keynotes were especially painful because they were sad. Tragically so. You see, people at Apple actually think this stuff matters. They lose sleep over it. Hell, they lose marriages over it. Completely removed from reality, they believe getting the next iGizmo out the door is the most important item on the universe's agenda. Forget global warming. AIDS. Starvation. War. All of that pales in comparison to making sure we don't make the world wait one more minute for the next product.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a dedicated Apple user. I'm typing this on my PowerBook G4. Husband has his own Apple laptop, and we have an Apple desktop at home. We also have several iPods between us. But people, it's just technology! It's not a religion! And I am so, so, so glad to be out of there. And free to not have to watch another self-servingly smug keynote e very again.

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