My husband was an Apple fan back before it was cool. So it goes without saying that we keep up on the Apple news. We pay attention to what new products are coming out and like to see all the new features of the operating system. And yes, we actually sit and watch the annual keynote address if it is available for streaming on our Apple TV.
But, every year there’s something about this keynote address that strikes me. There is an overriding message that is especially apparent with the Apple brand, but I think it is a message that echoes through much of our consumer driven society. It is the idea that “our products will change the world.”
It’s not a bad sentiment. Changing the world is a goal worth pursing. And it’s certainly not a bad marketing ploy. Because in essence this extends out to mean that if you want to get in on the action and make a difference or do something great, then you need to get these products. And people start to believe it. It’s a message that bombards us each and every day:
“Be more productive with this new app!” “Be more beautiful and influential with these new clothes!” “Save the earth by buying these glass storage containers!” “Be more important!” “Be more creative!” “Be better!”
For example: I always have feelings that I should be more organized and productive. I have so many ideas, I figure if only I had a better system I could actually make some of them happen! And I have fallen for the idea that a new product is going to make me a machine – churning out the products of my great ideas over and over again. This is evidenced by the veritable wasteland of productivity apps I have on my phone. But none of those apps changed the world, because none of those apps change me. It’s only when I sit down and decide I want to work that anything gets done, no matter how organized my lists are or how often they beep and flash at me.
Because here’s the thing: It’s not the product that can change the world. It’s the person. And the people who are truly world changers can do it with any tool they can get their hands on, whether it’s an iPhone or a hammer or a pen or a sewing machine.
So good for those companies that want people to change the world. But just remember, they also want your money. And you can change the world on your own.