Hype, Hate and Hope
Yesterday was great.
Sure, Apple launched a product that may or may not be great. It might or might not be an awesome gaming platform. It's either really expensive or super cheap. It's either the next big thing or the Apple Newton all over again. But the thing itself isn't what was great, it was (and remains) the experience of its announcement.
I admit it, I stopped everything and jumped onto a live stream of the iPad announcement. I did it mostly for the same reason I watch the Super Bowl when my team isn't playing: because I buy into the hype.
It's not hype over the specific object, it's the hype for the sake of hype. I enjoy the feeling of being caught up in a crowd. I like being in a room that is being effectively worked by a pro -- and lets face it, Steve Jobs is a pro. I like suspending my disbelief and my skepticism just for a while, to imagine that anything is possible.
This is really the Apple product -- hope. In magic Apple unicorn land, everything just works, everything you ever wanted is already in the box, and every object in your life is a totem, invoking the animal spirits of technology and efficiency and beauty.
I know that's not the real world, just like I knew that Obama wouldn't magically transform the country in a few months, and that riding my bicycle up the local mountain is not the same as riding the Tour de France. But I choose to live a life focused on possibilities and hope and be regularly disappointed rather than live a life of constant skepticism and be occasionally and begrudgingly surprised.
Perhaps the most astounding thing about yesterday's circus of hype and hope was how quickly the sharks circled the drops of blood in the water. This shouldn't be a surprise at this point, there's hardly a tech gizmo or game launch that doesn't drag hate out from the woodwork. I imagine that there's an old school BBS run out of a server farm in Duluth where haters get together and practice their barbs, so that a coordinated campaign of ridicule can sweep the web.
This thing Apple has made will be what it is. I'm not going to defend its virtues or attack its failings. I am, however, thankful for yesterday's Hallmark Moment. Like midnight game releases, opening nights, and Christmas mornings, these hypeful, hopeful events bring color to the gray New England winter, and the long slow grind of adulthood.