I’ve never been a Mac guy, not really, but I had a professor who probably was. Dr. Woody was his name, and he’d play music in the classroom before lectures. The Doobie Brothers, stuff like that. He was the type to pull a student aside and give him special attention, make an observation. He pulled me aside once for about 10 seconds, and I will never forget it.
One day in multimedia class he played a video. It was a one-minute clip, voiced over by Richard Dreyfuss, with tinkling piano and soaring strings, images of towering figures flashing by in black-and-white. Einstein, Dylan, MLK, Henson, Lennon, etc. It’s not clear that the clip is an advertisement until the very end, when the Apple logo appears along with two words: "Think Different."
I have loved that ad ever since. So has my dear friend and college roommate Brian. We even had “Think Different” posters in our house senior year, not that we did much thinking at all.
After college we became desk jockeys, like seemingly everyone in our generation, if they’re lucky, and we had a hard time with that. It was stifling, and it was then that Brian handed me the piece of paper you see above. I was reminded of what had inspired me years ago, incubated on a college campus. I was reminded to see things differently.
I pinned that paper to my office (cubicle) wall, and it stayed there for the entire six years I worked at AOL. It stays with me now, in a binder on my desk. Though it’s idealistic and meant to sell hardware, it inspires me still.
It was probably written by an ad man, and it emanated from another man who is gone too soon, but the spirit lingers. It changes the world.