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A Windows adventure in the General Assembly

A Windows adventure in the General Assembly

Apr 23, 2012

Last week, I dared to be different. I walked into the General Assembly, a startup workspace located here in NYC, sat down at the big wooden counter, put my bag on my lap and waited. I was nervous, a few beads of sweat moved down my brow. I waited until  all passing glances had moved on from my arrival, and then with a quick move and deep breathe,  I took it out.

No, I didn’t take IT out. But what I did take out was almost as shocking: it was a Lenovo T520 laptop running…wait for it…Windows 7!

3 million years ago, a similar thing happened in the plains of Africa...

With a ~80% marketshare, my whipping out a Windows PC shouldnt feel like arriving with styrofoam plates to an Earth Day picnic.  But in the startup world of NYC, and especially within the General Assembly, opening a Windows laptop reminds me of being in Grade 3,  opening up my lunch and having all the white kids crowd around it asking  ‘ew, what is THAT?!’

The Lenovo stood proudly atop the counter like a black monolith. I sensed the Apple-rati casting judgmental glances in my direction, as if I had violated the great Macintosh covenant that permeates startup culture.

15 years since Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign, it is poetically charming, one might even say ironic, that running a Windows machine can be cast under that banner. I use a Macbook as my main machine, and I love it. But, there are times when I have to put the toy away and bring out the mother of all Swiss-Army knives,  and that is when I tap the shoulder of the grizzled veteran that is my Lenovo.

While the apps I build may run on iOS,  behind every one of them stands proudly a Windows machine, running a WCF service perched atop a SQL Server 2008instance. Yes my friends and fellow haberdashers,

Conformity: it comes in a brushed aluminum case

Mac and Windows can symbiotically coexist as one system.

So before jumping too high and hard onto the Apple (and LAMP) bandwagon, dust off that old Windows XP machine sitting in your sock drawer, boot it up, and bask in the glory days of your youth.  Put out your fires of contempt for Internet Explorer 6, moveon.org from Vista, and consider Windows to be your back-end platform of choice.

I did survive my day at the GA with Windows, the boat did rock, but I am no troublemaker. I leave the civil rights movement for operating systems to braver, more passionate people. I’m typing out this entry at a table in the GA, but this time I’m safely under the radar with a silver Macbook.  I don’t know if the others recognize me as last week’s usurper, but for the moment, I believe I have eluded the attention of the Apple Police.

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