The MacBook that went to Work
By Jim Lundy
For most of my working career, I was a card carrying member of the Device you got from IT and for most of that time, it was a Windows Laptop. That all changed in 2008, when we moved from Upstate New York back to Silicon Valley. Even back then, everywhere I went in Silicon Valley, I saw a ton of Macs. I was helping clients to manage change and deal with Consumerization of IT, and there I was with an aging device that wasn’t cool at all. To top it off, the Windows device I had was having its share of issues.
So, I adapted. In the fall of 2008, after watching a video of Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive talk about the design of the new aluminum MacBook, to me it looked like a game changer. So I went out and bought one of the very first 13″ Aluminum MacBooks. I bought it with my own money and there was no reimbursement from my employer at the time, Gartner. What I can say is that right after I started carrying that MacBook around, interactions with Clients changed.
There are two memorable client interactions with the Mac. First, it was a meeting at Google in Building 43. After seeing my shiny MacBook, the first thing the Google Enterprise staff did was to pull a Mac Power cord out of the conference room table and present it to me, as if it were a gift: “Please Jim, use our Macbook power cable”. The second one was from a visit to Redmond. I took the machine with me and used it there for two days. Not a word was said about me having a Mac, but I sure got a lot of stares from the Microsoft staff. Of course they knew I was using Microsoft Office on it, something I still use today.
Of course it didn’t end there. I was one of the first real rogue BYOD users. My team at Gartner helped me get the right VPN client for the Mac. I got the fully supported Lotus Notes client from IBM. Pretty much after getting VPN enabled, I was off to the races. It was all Macbook after that for 100% of my work. Note, I still had my Windows PC, but it had become an email storage device.
By 2010, it was a Gartner exit and over to Saba in a General Manager role. The MacBook went with me. I was issued a Dell PC and for a while I would bring it home. That ended after the iPad came out. Just as what happened at Gartner, my Windows PC became an email storage device. As time progressed, in many of the executive staff meetings at Saba, I’d get humorous looks and questions about how the Mac was working for me. It certainly helped me stay productive. Then it happened. About six months before I left to start Aragon Research, many of the Saba executive staff there broke down and got a Mac. Funny how times change.
Jump ahead to the fall of 2012 and a funny thing happened. Apple announced its next generation 13″ Macbook Pro – Retina model. After four years, my original Macbook that did the job at three different companies, and was also featured in a Corporate Video, is being retired. I’ve been amazed at the durability of the unit. It still looks good and if I polish the aluminum it can look as good as it did four years ago. Of course, what changed with that unit over time is the software. Because of the regular OS X updates, it really isn’t the same unit it was four years ago.
So, today, I still carry my Macbook on business trips, but very soon, I’ll only be taking my Tablet with me. Computers are adapting and becoming easier to use. It is less about the OS and more about the Apps. Keep that in mind as you roll out your BYOD policies.