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Articles: Lead, Follow or Pull up Your Pants

I remember reading a story about a father who was writing a response to a questionnaire from a university about the application of his daughter to their school.

To the question of: “Is she a leader?” He wrote something along the lines of, “No, but she’s a great follower.”

She was accepted, apparently partly because the admissions personnel decided that having one good follower among a group of a thousand self-proclaimed leaders might be a good thing.

Ultimately, we’re all followers to some degree; we have to be in order to have an orderly society. Actually, it’s perfectly okay to be a follower. All you’re doing is lending your support to whomever came up with what is hopefully a good idea in the first place.

Of course, lots of people follow bad ideas. For instance, I still crack up every time I see a young man walking the city streets with the top of his pants barely covering the bottom of his underwear. (There seems to be some sort of competition as to who can wear their pants the lowest. I guess the final step will just be to take them off completely.) It honestly is one of the most impractical and silly fashion trends I’ve ever seen. There’s a reason we don’t want to see your underwear gentlemen. That’s why they call it underwear. One particularly distressing aspect to all of this is that I’m starting to see school-age boys drooping their pants as well. It’s one thing for a 20-something urbanite to want to make a statement by looking foolish, it’s another thing when young kids start following the trend.

In an informal poll, I’ve heard that the ladies aren’t very attracted to the style either. That alone should be enough of a message to most guys, but who knows? Anyway, it is funny to watch people doing something because someone else did it just to be different, and they want to be different too by doing the same thing. Yes, it is convoluted logic.

In any case, we’re certainly seeing a following of Apple unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. One of the best things about it is that it’s a trendy thing that also happens to be a product line that is the clear quality leader in its category. It’s as if a Mercedes Benz were in every driveway. Or a lot of them anyway.

To the extent that the Apple products are trendy, there may come a time when there’s a backlash. The kids on the city streets would be pulling their pants up in a hurry if business executive types started wearing their suit pants below their butt. Which would be pretty funny to see, actually.

But I think that’s where Apple still wins, because their stuff is just that good, not just trendy, or cool-looking. They’re made exceptionally well. The stuff works. And computers and phones and tablets are expensive enough industries that only other large companies can take a run at them, so its doubtful that a new trendy replacement will come from someone’s garage again. Microsoft and Samsung hardly are names that have ever set off creative shock waves in any industry.

Some prognosticators are already starting to wonder when the Apple rocket ship is going to start running out of fuel. But by the looks of it today, I think the Apple rocket is going to keep achieving new heights for years to come. I think Apple surpassed trendy about ten years ago. Now it’s just great stuff, and the public finally caught on.

I just hope we never have to see Tim Cook come out on stage with anything but belt-high pants on...

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