Steve Jobs Almost Named The iMac The MacMan, Until This Guy Stopped Him

May 31st, 2012 § 7 comments

A well told story about the naming of the iMac over at Fast Company1. Apparently it took quite a bit of convincing but even though he originally used ‘hate’ to describe the name iMac he eventually relented.

This, of course, says an interesting thing about the way Steve Jobs worked. He had an opinion. A very strong opinion. The kind of opinion that might knock you over and kick you a few times. But that’s not to say he wasn’t reasonable or wouldn’t ultimately change his mind if confronted with heartfelt opinions presented with passion.

The most important lesson from the story is that if you feel really strongly about an idea you shouldn’t be afraid to put it forth again even if it faced a Steve Jobs “I hate it” rejection2.

I relied on a philosophy I learned long ago from a wise man in advertising. It was “As long as you’ve got new ideas to share, you are free to re-present the old one.”

That philosophy works in all areas of life, not just advertising.

  1. The story is written by and from the perspective of the guy who claims credit for the name “iMac” so I would take it with a grain of salt. I believe the basic facts but I’m not so sure how close they really were to naming it MacMan []
  2. Is there anything worse? []


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§ 7 Responses to Steve Jobs Almost Named The iMac The MacMan, Until This Guy Stopped Him"

  • Alfred Morgan says:

    This reminds me of when Jobs wanted to name The Macintosh something else; The Bicycle.

    • Thomas Paine says:

      Are you being sarcastic?

      • Alfred Morgan says:

        Nope. Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson 2011 pg. 115
        “So one day Jobs decreed that henceforth the Macintosh should be known instead as the Bicycle.”

        Quick search pulled up:
        http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Bicycle.txt

        • Thomas Paine says:

          According to that link they never intended to name the product “Bicycle”. They tried to change the code name from Macintosh to Bicycle but Macintosh was such a good name that the team revolted and Rod Holt eventually gave up. It was such a good code name, in fact, that it eventually won out and became the name of the product. It wasn’t even clear that Steve was behind the name Bicycle from that article, just that they were trying to distance the project from Jef Raskin.

          What a classic case of overreach by Issacson.

          • Alfred Morgan says:

            Yeah the article says Rod pushed it and the book says Steve pushed it. It’s hard to say where it started but Jobs did talk about bicycles.

          • Thomas Paine says:

            Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they ever intended to name the computer Bicycle. It just doesn’t make any sense as a name. Macintosh works because it’s a type of Apple. Bicycle is a product category that already exists. The Apple Bicycle sounds like a bike, not a computer.

  • Laurence Orr says:

    MacMan isn’t a terrible name actually. iMac wasn’t a success because of its name, I bet it would have been just as successful with a different name.

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