The danger of becoming popular

What does having an Apple product say about its owner? It signifies that they're young (at least at heart), trendy, hip. It's a social cue to show that they're different and even rebellious. But lately I see more and more people with macs instead of pcs.

I see next to everyone on the trains of NYC with iPods and iPhones.

The appetite for Mac is growing.

More and more businesses are using Mac to power their offices (my dentist for example) and Apple is responding with even smarter marketing efforts.

They have a new program where you can take students on field trips to the Apple store. It's brilliant. They're building brand awareness and Apple evangelists from an even younger age.

And what about the new program for businesses where Apple pros will come in and teach your office how to use the new system? Awesome!

But maybe what isn't so obvious is that hidden within these great marketing efforts that usher in further growth are other challenges. The danger with growing laterally (widely popular) as opposed to vertically (increasing depth within a certain demographic) is that now you're popular.

You're no longer different.

Everyone wants you and the 'everyone' market isn't loyal. The pressure then becomes to continue being what "everyone" wants and again, these guys aren't faithful. So how do you grow, stay true to your brand and answer the calls of your now very loud consumer base?

It's like spending 4 years trying to be popular in high school and trying to get with this one guy. You finally end up dating him, being on the in crowd, only to realize that you ushered in a new set of problems.This crowd is less forgiving and harder to please. To them you're just a commodity. You could be replaced in a day and you feel increasing pressure to act a certain way to keep their interest.  It's tiring and you feel disconnected. So how do you become cool without losing yourself or your most loyal friends in the process? That's the challenge, isn't it?

Will the Mac system come to dominate the consumer and/or business markets? I don't know.

Could they become just yesterday's hottest thing? They could. In fact, their entire business model is founded on the idea of the "next-hottest-thing" (that's another topic).

But that's the danger in becoming popular. It begets being over-consumed and forgotten.