I have a story, one that isn't a major victory. It's from a small, DOShead town near Daytona Beach, Florida. I honestly thought that I was one of maybe 10 Mac users. Our population is 18,000 and I really thought I was basically it. I've lived here for 22 years, and I have met only one local Mac user. That was until about a year and a half ago. I did a search on AOL for my town. It turned out that there was about 15 Mac users there. I remember being very pleased, I thought there was less than that. Just on a whim, I e-mailed one turned out being an Apple employee! He telecommuted most days, flew back and forth from Cupertino the rest.
I spoke to him for quite a while. We discussed a lot of different Mac-related topics. One day he asked why I didn't start a users group. He mentioned he was too busy to really often contribute, but would do what he could.
I called every computer-related business within 30 miles. They all told me the same thing. They said there wasn't a sufficient number of Macs here to provide enough for a group. Over and over again, I heard that. No one had worked on many Macs, so I assumed that I was originally right.
After speaking to my friend via e-mail again, I didn't give up. I continued spreading the word. I started e-mailing everyone I could find on AOL and eWorld. I told them to call all the Mac people they knew. I found someone who put ads in all the local newspapers. I reserved a room at the library. I bought a couple of Mac shirts. Wanting something to give away, I called a few software companies and got some demos and the local Apple dealer gave me pamphlets to distribute. I did everything I could to pass the word to anyone who would listen.
I nervously waited until the date of the first meeting. When the day came, I went to the library and set up the chairs. I optimistically put 20 seats out. I opened the door and waited. The first person showed up 30 minutes early. Soon a second person walked in, followed by the third. They didn't stop showing up until 15 minutes into the meeting. A total of 36 people had come to my little meeting. I couldn't believe it. It turned out that Macs don't need repairs very often. No one had ever needed their hardware fixed, and when they have software problems, they call Apple.
We've been meeting for a year and a half now, and are constantly growing. We currently have about 20 regulars, with 15-20 people who occasionally visit. We aren't an official group, we don't want to go through all the paperwork. We just want to meet and talk. They have given me a renewed faith in the best OS, and hopefully, I've taught them a little bit about how to make their computers easier.
I later called back some of the businesses that had told me not to bother. I mentioned who we were, and when we meet. After inviting them to see what's happening at Apple, I happened to remind them that there was no PC users group here. In a town where PC's outnumber Mac 500 to 1, we're the only one's who felt the need to exchange ideas.