Apple Survived ’80s Thanks To One Piece of Software, Says Guy Kawasaki

By

Author and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki at Ad:Tech
Author and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki at Ad:Tech

SAN FRANCISCO, AD:TECH CONFERENCE: The survival of Apple beyond the 1980s is thanks to one piece of software, says Guy Kawasaki, best-selling author and Apple’s former chief evangelist.

The comment came during a highly entertaining keynote speech at the Ad:Tech conference on Tuesday to promote Kawasaki’s new book, Enchantment. The book is a manual of persuasion in the mold of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Make Friends and Influence People.” (I’m reading it and will have a review soon).

According to Kawasaki, the Mac would have died shortly after its introduction in 1984 if it hadn’t been for a single miraculous piece of software: Aldus PageMaker, the original page-layout program.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items. Read our reviews policy.


Kawasaki said the original Mac wasn’t much good for spreadsheets or databases, but was good for designing print publications.

“PageMaker was a bright spot that created this gigantic bright spot — desktop publishing,” he said.

“Desktop publishing — it saved Apple,” Kawasaki continued. “It was a gift from God to save Apple. There is no other explanation for the survival of Apple than it is evidence of a benevolent god.”

This line got a pretty good laugh from the audience of ad industry types — all of whom were touting MacBook Airs or iPads.

Kawasaki also said that the original Mac was a “piece of crap” but it was a “revolutionary piece of crap.”

And that the Mac development team was the greatest collection of egos in one room in the history of Silicon Valley — “and that’s saying a lot.”

The Mac division held this record for 20 years, Kawasaki said, until the title was taken by — wait for it — Google.

Most of Kawasaki’s talk focused on 10 points to enchant people. Enchantment is a higher form of persuasion that involves likability, trustworthiness, and a higher cause.

One of his points was to “sell your dream.” He gave the example of the iPhone, which he said is rightly described as $188 dollars worth of parts, manufactured in a plant where workers tend to commit suicide, and is hitched to a America’s worst cell phone network.

“But this in not how Steve Jobs pitched the iPhone,” he said to a big roar of laughter.

If you get a chance to see Kawasaki speak, I highly recommend it. We’ll post a video if one surfaces. Also check out his book Enchantment (Amazon link): it’s a great and entertaining read so far, and is proving to be full of practical advice.