Last week I wandered into a coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to do a spot of work. I went to this coffee shop because the Yelp review said it had very good wifi, great coffee and a writing atmosphere conducive to creativity. The Yelp review was true: It was one of those places where local artists’ paintings hung on a brick wall and smashed avocado toast was a popular item on the menu. While I was waiting in line for my authentic Ethiopian organic coffee with a roasted, crushed, salted almond topping, I noticed all the other customers looked the same and were glued to the screens tapping away on their keyboards. In fact, Bruce Willis could have completely destroyed the neighborhood outside and not a single soul would have looked up.
There were a few things that struck me about the clientele and not just the fact that everyone had tattoos all up their arms, the guys mostly had beards and fancy sneakers; but isn’t Williamsburg supposed to be the think different part of the east coast, similar to San Francisco of the 60’s, but is now the uniform hipster capital of America. The anti-Upper East Side crowd has reached a critical mass who has swapped the Starbucks paper cup for a mason jar to enjoy their beverage of choice. Perhaps this could be defined as the anti-establishment crowd with $800 phones with white cordless ear pods who think they won’t conform and want to stand out as cool, individualistic and different.
After further examination, there was nothing different about everyone, in fact, I felt out of place wearing a sensible collared shirt. Everyone and I mean everyone was all using Macs and glued to their screens. If you could imagine an inverted Apple 1984 Superbowl commercial this would have been the scene. There was no one who had an individual look or individual technology kit. Even the stickers on the Mac looked very similar and in the same places.
But hang on, I thought the whole idea of Apple and Williamsburg was to think differently and not follow the crowd. It now appears to be everyone looking the same, thinking the same, consuming technology the same and rebelling the same…. No Starbucks, no non-beards, lots of plaid shirts and a hanging out with similar people and of course a combination of ostentatious fashion + vapid conversation + smugness.
At this point moment, the very definition of hipsters came to my mind. hipsters:- People who are smug or totally in love with themselves without the achievements to back it up, then thought this was nasty as I had missed out imagination. There was one guy in the corner who had more stickers on his Mac than most, so he was obviously a radical. For young Williamsburg hipsters, if you count the early 30s as youngsters, there just seemed to be people insure and in love with themselves.
Apple seems it have sold out when it went mainstream in the late ’90s when it introduced the wildly successful iMac to appeal to the AOL crowd or with the iPhone to take on the mighty Nokia. With regard to Williamsburg, perhaps when Whole Foods opened on Bedford Ave.
When a fad tips into the mainstream, it loses all that made it cool in the first place and support mainstream is when 25% of the population adopt the trend. That’s a lot of vinyl comeback and thrift stores to be built. To paraphrase Joe Strummer it’s only when fashion is a passion that it actually means, or stands for anything.
This the madness of crowds following the trend or fad that appears to be cool. This is not just a fashion problem, but oh so prevalent in the world of tech, where the logical decision-making process can go bonkers. Did any of these people take a serious view of:
- Cost of purchase and ownership
- Functionally- Does it mean my needs
- Lifestyle- Does it work, the way I work
As I can’t believe all these people have the same budget, require the same functionality and have the same lifestyle… Even though they look at it. Or is this just too logical?
When it was my turn to order, I thought of the above three points and ordered a non-thrill American coffee. Tall of course and switched on my Surface