Hello, 30 Years of the Mac: Andy Reflects

This post is written by Andy Cunningham, Founder, SeriesC firstmachello“Hello.”  The electronic voice spoke volumes.  It was the culmination and celebration of a year’s worth of 90-hour workweeks and hundreds of agonizingly inspirational hours spent wrangling with him on a journey to change the world.  The curtain went up.  The crowd hushed.  Macintosh spoke.  The world was different.  And so was I.

There I was in the auditorium at DeAnza College watching history unfold before my eyes.  A young visionary was up there altering the course of computing with little more than a passionate pitch and a little portable box of bit mapped graphics and a mouse.  A team of weary engineers and developers and designers and marketers sat speechless and tearful upfront.  A small gaggle of reporters were huddled in the back recording for posterity the birth of a new age.  And Steve performed with the characteristic flare that became Apple’s trademark and a signal of innovation.

When the show was over and the room had cleared, I stepped back stage to see if there was anything more I could do before I got back to the office and faced the onslaught of press calls.  And that’s when Steve pulled me aside and quietly said “Thank you.”

I was a 28-year-old Regette charged with creating the PR strategy for this monumental product launch.  I was in the right place at the right time.  Our team had written the launch plan on LISA Project, developed reams of content, walked more than 100 journalists into Bandley 3, navigated numerous interviews with the Mac team and orchestrated “multiple exclusives” to be printed and aired at the same time on January 24, 1984.  Thirty years ago.

I am so very fortunate to have been there when the industry was intimate and to have worked alongside an incredible group of thinkers, doers and visionaries surrounding the magical Mac.  I learned about innovation, inspiration, focus, hard work, high quality, design aesthetics, attention to detail, motivation and teamwork.  I learned what it was like to work with A players and play an A game.  I learned so much from everyone who was involved in any way: Regis McKenna, Jane Anderson, the Mac team, the journalists who covered the launch, the developers who contributed applications, the pioneering evangelism that created a platform and the hundreds of early adopters who fell in love with a computer.

Thank you Steve.  You changed the world and you changed my life.