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The Switch Enabler

by Derrick Story
Mac Newsletter for 06/21/2002

Dear Mac Reader,

Apple's latest ad campaign, "Switch," is smart, entertaining, and timely. If you haven't checked out the site yet, I urge you to do so.

You may be thinking, "But Derrick, I switched long ago. You're preaching to the choir." I know that. But there's a related issue to "Switch" that lands squarely in your backyard. I call it being the "Switch Enabler."

Here's the deal: lots and lots of people are "thinking about" switching to the Mac right now. In the realm of behavioral change, we call this the "contemplative" stage. In other words, buying a Mac is on their mind, but they're not sure if it's time to act. I learned about this years ago in a smoking cessation class (and yes, I still don't smoke ;).

The gentle nudge that could move people from the "contemplative stage" to "action" might be as simple as a friendly gesture from you. I'm not talking about knocking on doors with an iBook in hand. It's more like helping people solve their problems and showing them that life can be better while sitting in front of a computer.

For example, on his lunch hour a coworker of yours is struggling to remove red eye from a digital photo of his daughter. He's using an old PC. You're hungry and want some Doritos, but instead you offer your help. You open the image in iPhoto, remove the red eye, and send the fixed image directly to his email account.

While you're happily clicking away on your iBook, he's looking over your shoulder asking about hardware prices, the iApps, and Mac OS X. You don't have to give him a pitch because the tools are making the impression. But you can offer your experience if he has further questions about digital photography or the Mac platform. The fact that you delayed your Doritos fix to help him with his problem spoke volumes about you as a person, and about the tools you use.

To subscribe to the Mac newsletter (or any O'Reilly Network newsletters), visit http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/user/home and select the newsletters you wish to receive in your user profile (you'll need to log in with your existing O'Reilly Network account -- if you don't yet have an account, you'll need to create one).

This willingness to help, to be open, to collaborate without preaching or disrespecting the other guy's computer is what's going to make "Switch" more than just another ad campaign.

Thanks for reading,

Derrick Story
O'Reilly Network Managing Editor
derrick@oreilly.com

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