A new book by Ken Segall titled Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success describes the introduction in 1998 of the iMac, the computer that anchored Apple’s comeback. Here is a passage from an excerpt of the book.
The lump on the table was truly mysterious and held everyone’s rapt attention. Hidden under a gray sheet it was impossible to discern any detail from it. We were going to have to wait for the big reveal when the meeting was called to order. This would definitely not be our typical product briefing. Beneath that sheet was the home computer that was going to save Apple.
Not to get overly dramatic about it, but that’s exactly how it was billed by Steve himself. This was the product that Steve had alluded to back when we had first started on the Think Different campaign. He had told us that the first product out the door was going to be a rethinking of the home computer. He had given his engineers and designers the challenge to do something great, and now at long last we were going to see it.
There would be no saving Apple by churning out more beige boxes that failed to distinguish themselves, by looks or function, from the hundreds of PC models out there. Steve wanted this first product to open people’s eyes and serve notice that Apple was back.
The excerpt describes how Steve Jobs was persuaded to not give his futuristic looking breakthrough computer his preferred name of ‘MacMan’.
It is an interesting reflection on the importance of how you name things as well as how you persuade a difficult client to change his or her mind even if they seem committed to their earlier decision.