I remember when it was cool to root for Apple. Back when they were the underdog crawling back from the brink of bankruptcy and fighting to give the world an alternative to Wintel. Those days are long, long gone. It is categorically uncool to root for Apple these days.
And that’s fair. They’re not an underdog any more. They don’t need anyone to cheer their lead. In fact, the opposite is true. Now that they’re the 600 billion gorilla, they need scrutiny and competition, not blind admiration.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be impressed. Or even in awe. And I am most certainly in awe of Apple. It’s like watching Serena Williams over the years. Her domination in the sport hasn’t always made for cliffhanging action, but it’s been a marvel none the less.
There’s just something deeply inspiring about seeing what companies, teams, and people can accomplish at the peak of their ability. Especially when it’s happening not just for a single season, but as a reign of excellence.
That’s what we’re still watching: A reign of excellence. That doesn’t make the company, its products, or its people infallible. And various moments throughout this reign might have had more sparkles of innovation and disruption than what we’re seeing now, but there’s no denying what a juggernaut of impact it still is.
Also doesn’t guarantee it will continue tomorrow and certainly that it won’t forever. Nobody gets to reign forever (thank god!). But we shouldn’t be so proud not to recognize and applaud when it’s happening.
So Apple, I applaud you. We’re on the cusp of a decade since the first release of the iPhone. It’s astounding just how well you’ve been able to improve, iterate, and stay the champ for so long.
Perhaps no company has provided more direct inspiration for Basecamp than Apple. For a while it was so overwhelming that we banned all comparisons, just out of how common and trite they had become. But I’m getting more at ease with just surrendering to that towering shadow and be fine with it.