If you’re not showing Mac users some love, you’re an idiot

I’m sorry, but I cannot understand why the vast majority of “Web 2.0 technology” is launched in PC-only format. This is a question I have posed at least a dozen times in the past month as I’ve done the tech-startup “interview circuit” (that’s right—Yours Truly is looking for a job; one worthy of Her Royal Geniusness)… and the answer I get, time after time, is along these lines:

“With PC-users comprising ~80% of the market, we just couldn’t justify the development costs around supporting Macs blah blah blah blah blah blah….”

My follow-up question to this response usually probes about target audience: who are they trying to reach with their slick new technology?

99.9% of the time, the answer I get is: “early adopters” (or some colorful variation on the theme).

This is the moment when my head starts to spin Exorcist-style at the sheer stupidity of this logic.

See if you can follow the logic with me. You (savvy, Web 2.0 tech start-up) wish to reach the following audience:

  • early adopters
  • tech-savvy
  • heavy internet and media/gaming users
  • passionate about gadgets and new technology
  • ahead of the curve in “Web 2.0”
  • influencers; have the potential to become a WOM marketing vehicle for your product
  • not paranoid about online security; willing to download a new app, be a beta-tester, etc.

But… instead of targeting the loyal Mac user (who by the way, fits the above profile smack-on!), you focus your precious dollars & resources on the Bill Gates Black Hole. Instead of herding Purple Cows, you herd… sheep. S-H-E-E-P!!!!!!

For those of you who still feel the Mac World is a low-volume, high-risk path to traverse, allow me to share a few relevant Mac Facts (provided generously by a great example of Mac-loyalty):

  • IT’S ACTUALLY NOT MORE EXPENSIVE TO DEVELOP FOR MACS: On average, the cost to develop and support Windows applications is 50% higher per dollar of revenue than the cost to develop for Macintosh.
    (Software and Information Industry Association)
  • THEY’RE UH, DOING REALLY WELL: $24 Billion dollars in revenue in FY07, having shipped more than 2 million Macs, 10 million iPods, and 1 million iPhones. After the last earning’s announcement, Apple’s stock price climbed to >$184 per share.
  • THERE’S PLENTY O’ OPPORTUNITY: Macintosh software comprises over 18% of all software sold. Macintosh users actually use more applications than Windows users, citing ease of installation of Mac applications as one of the reasons.
    (Software and Information Industry Association)

  • HEY, HERE’S A NOVELTY: IT’S PROFITABLE!: Software developers make higher profits with Mac software than Windows software. Average revenues per unit remain higher overall for Macintosh software than for Windows applications.
    (Reports from PC Data and SIIA)

But perhaps the best illustration of why developing your Killer Ap for Macs instead of PCs first is the recent iPhone phenomenon. People stood in line for HOURS to purchase a $500 first-generation product, simply so they could have bragging rights (and access to a wickedly cool piece of technology, if I do say so myself)… Don’t you wish YOUR product could engender THAT kind of passion?

And that’s just a glimpse of the potential that focusing on the Mac market holds. They may be only 20% of the market, but they’re also the ones most likely to drive 80% of your sales.

So here’s my advice:
Forget developing for the PC. (For now.) Buck convention—develop your Killer App for the Mac first; show them the love and the loyalty. Arm them with a distinction that 99% of your competitors glibly dismiss: the MAC-ONLY edge. Tap into the rich, passionate community of Mac lovers in all of the places they play, online and off.

Screw Bill Gates.

Sure, you might miss the big Sheep Convention. But who wants to hang around sheep anyway?