Wednesday, September 01, 2004

It's Like Powerpoint
A short while ago, I attended the Apple sponsered "Pro Day" at my local Apple Store. I wasn't really interested in the topic at hand, I just wanted to talk to someone who works with Apple's business and small business department. I have a dream of bringing Apple training and consultation into my current employer. Of course I would want to drive and lead this department.

My goal today was to collect some materials on "how Apple fits into our equation". I think I may have wasted my time. I arrived at about 11:30AM, and the event was to begin at noon. I didn't see anyone else waiting around, but I was early.

I was eager to see the new iMac that debued just yesterday at the Apple Expo in France. But ... the stores don't have the new iMac yet, and won't until mid September some time. So I poked around the store thumbing through books, and dirtying up the demo models.

At 12 noon, one of the store associates wandered to a podium in the back of the store and announced that the Apple Pro day demonstration was about to begin. At that point, I took my seat in the Apple "theater". This theater is just a large projection screen hooked to an iMac which the speaker can stand next to while he "demo's things". After sitting down, two other guys wandered over and lingered near by. They were waiting for their repaired laptop to show up and just wanted to waste some time.

Today's topic, "Keynote". I have heard of Keynote, but I have never used it. The Apple guy told us, "it's like Powerpoint". I was waiting for him to add "... only better", but that never came out. He continued to rush through the presentation, seeming annoyed that my presence required him to go through the whole song and dance about what this product does. It was pretty mindless stuff. You can add pictures. You can add text. You can change your pictures and text. You can throw in transition effects. Yeah, you get the idea.

After about five minutes, the two guys who were standing around, slid away. And there I was, the only listener. The Apple guy continued for another five minutes or so, rushing through the presentation. Then he asks me, "any questions about Keynote?". I replied, "no, but I have an alterior motive for being here". I looked around and said "but I don't want to ruin this presentation for the rest of the audience". It was a joke, you see.

At this point I stood up and walked over to sit down next to the speaker, and he clicked off his phallic microphone that had been lingering dangerously close to his face. I went on to tell him that I work for a company offering training and consulting that is 100 percent Microsoft. I added that I would like to offer Apple services of some kind, whether it be mentoring/consulting, or if possible, training. I also told him that I had been on the website and read a bunch of documents that seemed straight forward, but I was interested in talking one on one with an Apple Business specialist.

It was clear to me then that I was not in contact with an Apple Business specialist. This guy was just a general staffer of the store, and maybe a "Genius Bar" worker. I guess I can't expect Apple to send out a business representative once a week for a 10 minute product demo. The Apple dude proceeded to bring up Apples website, clicked on Support, and then brought up some business related materials. "Have you looked at this stuff?", he asked. Actually, I hadn't. I had been looking in a different area of the website which was geared more towards businesses who wanted help from Apple. This stuff was geared for businesses wanting to help other businesses who use Apple products.

The Apple dude then went on to click on a few things, and shrug a lot. Then he tells me, "none of this is really managed locally" ... "if I were you, I would send an e-mail to the folks in California".

All right, so I wasted my time. But it was still fun to drive out to the "expensive mall" and play with toys I can't afford.

I headed right home afterward to study, but when I arrived home I found my wife and kids were missing. They also locked the house ... and I don't have a key. That's all right. It's a nice day to sit on my steps, use my wireless connection to blog, and maybe get some studying done.

And while I was sitting here, blogging to you about Apple blowing me off, and not wanting to study for my next Microsoft exam ... the mail lady pulled up. She was holding a Microsoft Welcome kit out of her Jeep window. I wondered when I was going to get that kit. It looked like it had been through utter hell. Stamped across the top was "DO NOT BEND". Well, someone didn't follow instructions.

Anyhow. I opened up my kit. There is my new wallet card and lapel pin. There was also a big sealed envelope telling me all about the "rules and requirements" of being a Microsoft lackie. Great. My new benefit package is nothing more than a "congratulations" from a laser printed template, and a 90 page disclaimer in 5 point print. It's like giving a dog a new dog collar for Christmas. It looks nice ... but oh yeah, "I'm owned".

Does this career get any better? I think in another life I was an airplane pilot, or a fireman.

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