In many ways you can say the original iPhone that debuted in 2007 was a major hit. But there’s another side to the story. Most people dismissed the iPhone as an overpriced gadget and couldn’t imagine themselves ever owning one.
I remember standing in line on the first day to get the original iPhone. It reminded me of standing in line to reserve the Tesla Model 3 almost 2 years ago. The excitement in the air was similar. Everybody standing in line knew they were wanting to get their hands on something revolutionary and spectacular. There was a hope and faith in the air.
After standing in line for several hours and finally holding the original iPhone, it was a magical moment. It was even better than what Steve Jobs had promised. The touch interface, the scrolling, the built-in apps… everything was just amazing.
However, when I showed my iPhone to my friends almost all of them dismissed it as an overpriced toy. I was quite shocked.
I remember I was at a friend’s party shortly after getting my iPhone in 2007 and I was showing it to some people, but there was little interest in it. There must have been 30 people at the party and not a single person wanted to play with it. I remember playing a game, Taboo, with folks and using my iPhone as the timer. It was awesome, at least to me, but nobody cared.
Several days later I was eating dinner at a restaurant with a few friends and I had my iPhone out on the table, and one friend told me to put it away because she was embarrassed by it because it “costed so much” and she didn’t understand why anybody would want one. She said she was happy with her Blackberry and had no interest in ever owning an iPhone.
I could go on with stories of disinterested people with the iPhone back in 2007. The reality was while there was a small minority of people who were infatuated with the iPhone and understood its significance, the vast majority of people completely dismissed it.
Steve Balmer, the then Microsoft CEO, remarked, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”
He was just so sure the iPhone was a fluke, a gadget, a toy. In retrospect, the original iPhone was truly a historical and momentous moment, one that would forever change how people consumed information.
In similar ways, the vast majority of people are completely missing out on the transformation and historical moment of the Tesla Model 3. On the surface, it’s easy to judge it as a “gadget” or “toy”, and something that only Tesla fanatics are in to.
However, what people are missing is they don’t understand the essence of the Model 3, just like the didn’t understand the essence of the original iPhone.