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From an Entrepreneur: Apple's 30th Anniversary

On January 24, 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh to change the world. The company recently released footage in celebration of its 30th anniversary that had been captured in a single day with 15 camera crews embedded in multiple locations around the world, including London, Shanghai and Botswana. The video highlights how different people use different Apple products including the Macintosh desktop, iPhone and iPad to accomplish incredible feats in their everyday lives, spanning the educational, medical and creative spheres.

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Today we look in to one of the originators of the first Apple computer, George Manlove, who worked with manufacture's representative for the innovative company in the early 80's. In an original interview, Manlove states that the Apple corporation was confirms that it was focused around innovation and changing the world in terms of lifestyle and technology.

Manlove originally started as an intern with Apple and was tasked with writing a business plan for their consumer training centers that allowed consumers to learn how to use the Macintosh and experience it first hand. It was a new concept to experience the graphic interface, including a mouse for the first time. Manlove was also asked to help the ultimate competitor, Microsoft, to teach their own employees applications built to Macintosh standards. Manlove states, ‘You have to realize that the first Mac had only 128K of memory and a floppy drive…yet it was on the market for a whopping $3,995…with only two applications, Mac Paint and Mac Write.”

A lot of people who came in to work with Apple had a hard time adapting to the Apple culture, like John Sculley for example…he didn’t make it. If someone adopted Steve Jobs’ passion, you made it. If you didn’t believe or adapt to Steve’s vision, you didn’t make it. Period.

The fondest memory Manlove had working with an Apple manufacturer's representative was that he was part of the original sales launch team for the Macintosh, something that only some of us understand from watching the recent feature film, JOBS. There was the infamous Worldwide National Sales Conference in January of 1984 in Hawaii when they showed the coveted 1984 Superbowl commercial to the employees. Manlove had the opportunity to have a conversation with Steve Jobs and John Scully personally that evening in Hawaii. He stated, “You know John…you and I have two things in common, Apple and Pepsi.”

Manlove commented on the groundbreaking conference, ‘It was unbelievable, it brought the house down…when we saw that, we truly believed this company was going to change the world…and it did.’ Manlove shows his appreciation by stating that he attributes great success in his career by being committed to the ground floor of a technology that everyone said would fail, but would decades later gain the highest market cap in history.

Manlove’s dedication and vision payed off as he received plaques recognizing his multi-million dollar sales accomplishment; only a small insight in to what his vision is for the future.

Many people have negative thoughts about Steve Jobs, but Manlove states, ‘Steve Jobs was a maverick in technology and had passion unlike anyone has ever seen in our industry. He claims, to this day, ‘I am happy to own one of the original Macintosh prototypes and the original Apple printer called the Image Writer.’

People don’t realize that in the late 90’s, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. The only thing that saved them was the iPod and iTunes…if that didn’t work; we may not have Apple around today. The success got the best of a lot of people who weren’t from Apple, they lost sight of Steve’s vision…it became all about making money and not about changing the world.

“A lot of investors worried after Steve died that the flame of passion would distinguish because Steve was gone…it’s hard to say, but Apple has to continue to innovate to be successful. It’s harder to innovate when products have become so commoditized.” The problem Manlove sees in the industry is that Apple lives in a soon to be box-less industry. Content is king, and Apple will have to dominate that part of the ecosystem to continue to win.

Manlove continues by saying, “If you look at Google’s business model, they really aren’t a software company anymore because they are so diversified. Power grid, to cell phones, to healthcare and humanitarian work…all the companies are working with ‘what’s next….’ And it’s not about the product; it’s about the content. It will soon be transparent how we receive content…Google Glass is an interesting experiment. Even tablets; there are approximately 15x the unit sales today as televisions.”

Out of all of the corporate cultures I’ve ever experienced, there hasn’t been anything like Apple. The passion, innovation, and desire to change the world in people’s lives is unlike anything we have ever seen as a culture. Manlove finishes this incredible story by stating, “my time working so closely with Apple was one of the most thrilling and exciting times of my career, I learned so much observing Steve Jobs; so this year is very important to me. This time set the tone for what I wanted to become in business...I learned so much observing Steve Jobs' leadership and passion...this time in my career set the tone to what I want to become in business.” He did just that as being the first in many things; the first eBay commercial customer, and one of the first Sony retailers in the world…before Amazon even. In 2009, his team was recognized by Consumer Reports as the #1 online retailer in the United States.

Today, Manlove continues this entrepreneurial vision by taking to photography. He states that he is trying to understand the drastic change in the photography business today, while taking the innovative approach as he learned working closely with Apple to deliver content that invokes an emotion that is so fresh and different than other photographers. He states that he doesn’t want to be ‘just another photographer.’