I remember as a 5th grader I was teased at school by some kids who thought my JC Penney corduroy jeans were not in style… I went home and asked my parents for some Levi’s 501 jeans… so I could be cool like the other kids. It was 1986… I was 10 years old… and that was the first time I can remember being teased for not being stylish… it was sort of a “welcome to puberty” moment.
Fact of the matter is…. things go out of style… just look at the 70’s… that whole decade was a brown and orange debacle. The only thing good coming out of the 70’s was Boston, the Eagles, and the demise of the Carter administration. Barry Manilow is probably the poster child for going out of style… your parents may not admit as much… but Barry Manilow was hotter than Justin Timberlake and Tom Cruise combined… his popularity soared higher than double digit inflation! Yet sometime in the early 80’s…. Barry the STUD became Barry the PUD…. personally I think MTV had a lot to do with it… Barry may be a sentimental crooner but he’s not exactly handsome as Dennis Ransom on the small screen! Thankfully we moved on to bigger and better things…. like Peter Cetera (the Barry Manilow of the 80’s).
Usually when you think of STYLE… movies, music, cars, and clothing are the first thing that come to mind…. but now we’ve entered a new era… where you can be deemed “cool” or “uncool” based upon the OPERATING SYSTEM that is run on your computer. Thank Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers… and the clever advertising agency that created all those advertisements with the nerdy Windows guys who looks like Bill Gates (+50 lbs.).
On Monday night I had two of my MBA buddies over to help me finish a project. When they noticed my new computer was running Windows Vista… they both laughed and tease me about it…. for a moment I thought I was time-warped back to 5th grade with my corduroy pants. Is it that UNCOOL to be running Windows Vista? Apparently so…. my friend Brett had his pearl while Apple laptop glowing on the table… and Spencer gave me a confused look and a genuine chuckle as if to say…. “you fool… why would upgrade so quickly to Vista?”
The saddest realization is how far Microsoft has fallen in prestige and coolness. Remember how awesome Windows 98 was? I remember being ecstatic to have a new computer loaded with Windows XP back in 2002. My theory… Somewhere between Steve Balmers crazy motivational rant… and the flop of the Xbox 360… Microsoft went from an efficient and necessary evil…. to Barry Manilow circa 1985.
Yesterday I put on a pair of corduroy pants and wore them to class… thankfully Brett and Spencer didn’t tease me about it (or even notice for that matter). Who knows… maybe 22 years from now Microsoft might be “cool again” just like my corduroy jeans…. in the mean time… I think I’ll sell short Microsoft stock.