Welcome to the Revolution!
If we look to our past to predict our future, technology has always been the difference maker for most developed civilizations. Mankind has always found new and intricate technological breakthroughs to push civilization to the next level of evolution. Whether it was the wheel, the cotton gin, electricity, or the telephone, man has wielded the power of these technological breakthroughs to better himself. And by man, I mean men. Technology has always been deemed a man’s world and I’m thankful to our forefathers of industry for leading the charge of technological discovery. I’d hate to think where our society would be without Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Eli Whitney. But what about women? Rarely do we hear a woman’s name affiliated with technological advancement. Perhaps due to gender bias or lack of available knowledge, whatever the case, women were never included in past society’s technological breakthroughs. That was “men’s work”.
I was fortunate to be raised by parents who didn’t subscribe to that mentality. They raised to me to believe I can do anything a boy could do (well, except pee standing up) and allowed me to be curious about anything I wanted to know (within reason). I was the little girl who loved ballet class but, also loved her race car track play set. I loved to bake with my mother but, loved playing video games with my father and the boys in my neighborhood even more. I was a mini walking contradiction. You’d think because of my interests I would have been fascinated with computers from the get go, especially with my father being a programmer. Not so much…
Oh sure, my father worked for IBM and my sister and I were around computers most of our childhoods but, for some reason they didn’t click with me until after high school. Computers were big, beige boxes people would sit in front of for hours at a time with little to show for it. I was convinced that no one was going to spend their lives sitting in front of one of those stupid boxes all day, everyday. Knowing what I know now, I should have listened to my father and studied computer science in college instead of musical theatre. (Yeah, I know.)
When I finally realized I needed computer, I made my father buy me a Mac despite the fact he got a considerable discount on a similar computer made by IBM. (Yeah, that went over like a lead balloon…) Because of that decision, though, I was left to on my own to learn the intricacies of my Mac. I couldn’t go to my father for help because he wasn’t familiar with the nuances of Apple’s machines. Looking back at it now, that was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.
So, let’s jump ahead fifteen years or so. I left the theatre world to work for Apple. Even though it was a retail position, I felt I knew enough about the Mac to sell them. What started as a part time sales person job quickly turned into a ten year career of teaching people how to use their devices. I had an understanding of Software I couldn’t explain to people. (There’s no denying DNA, people.) It was a gift and I became certified in every program I could access. The role of Creative fit me like a glove and I felt like a rock star because it came so easily to me. However, it was the time I spent working with the customer’s that I loved the most. Witnessing the lightbulb of understanding turn on over their heads when they finally got it, was the best feeling ever.
Since the death of Steve Jobs, I believe Apple Retail has lost it’s way. Steve Jobs never wanted his stores to subscribe to the normal retail mentality of numbers driving the direction of the stores’ growth. To him, it was all about the customer experience and building brand loyalty. What better way to ensure repeat business than to teach your customers how not to break the device you just sold them? It was a genius move, preventative tech support?! No one had ever done that before. My role was special in a traditional retail mold because there were no numbers affiliated with us. We rarely sold anything and on paper, retail management struggled to justify keeping us on the payroll especially since the service we offered was only $99 a year for training. Once Steve passed, I knew, as did anyone who held the same job, it wouldn’t be long before Apple did away with our service. And they did. It took four years to accomplish it, but the training service was discontinued. They still offer free workshops, but the essence of Steve’s vision was destroyed. The Creative role had the most face time with Apple’s customers, gathering data about what customers loved and hated about their products, what software enhancements were needed, and most importantly, established a relationship with those customers that ensured they would continue to be Apple customers for years to come. And sadly, the limited vision of the Retail higher ups simply didn’t see the value in any of those things. I knew it was time for a change…
I don’t regret the time I spent with Apple. I learned I was a hard core computer nerd disguised as a blonde and I connected with so many incredible people. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without Apple and for that I’m grateful. The most interesting aspect of my time as an Apple Creative, was seeing how many of my customers were women. Whether they were old or young; newbie or experienced, women were the driving force behind the success of the training service. The Blonde Byte is a direct result of what I see as Apple Retail’s short sightedness. I believe people, women especially, want to love their technology but are afraid to or they don’t know how.
So, this site is dedicated to those women who want to know how to enrich their lives with their technology and not have to rely on their kids or husbands(or partners) to explain their devices to them. The Blonde Byte wants to empower you to take the necessary steps towards your technological freedom.
The revolution has just begun….