Back in the day, the 1980's to be precise, some things were just bigger. Computers, mobile phones and hairstyles are three good examples.
Differentiation - Apple never toe'd the line
But let's not waste time talking about phones the size of house bricks, bizarre perms and going to a night club dressed up like a colour blind Jacobite Prince. Let's focus instead on computers. The PC (invented by IBM or maybe a bloke called Bob) started to take shape in the early eighties and after a smart young Bill Gates figured out that by developing and then giving away a universal operating system (Windows) he might do quite well a few years later, the stage was set. Companies in their hundreds started building PCs with Windows pre-installed, hoping to claim a slice of of this huge pie - all except one.
Since the late 70's Apple Computers had been developing it's own vision of the future. It's own hardware, it's own software, it's own packaging, it's own unique brand. They thought about things the rest ignored. What they were made of (aluminium instead of plastic), how it looked, how it felt, how intuitive it was to use, the complete experience of the customer interacting with the brand. Over the following 30 plus years Apple had it's fair share of ups and downs. The temptation to sell out and follow the herd must have been huge at certain points in their journey (in fact they did licence other companies to make Apple clones for a short period) but in the end I think we'd all have to agree that their original policy of sticking to their own agenda and following their own path has overall proved rather successful.
From corporate innovators to shared humanity
Today there are more resources, more opportunities and more possibilities to build a unique brand than ever. People shooting videos of their pets doing something strange in the garden or people chasing a bat around a kitchen can be hugely popular on a global scale within hours. Ideas that connect new technologies with new groups to solve old problems or improve outdated systems have led to a more fluid and democratic business landscape and that's better for everyone around the world. Be it a corporation the size of Apple or a wonderful, eccentric individual on You Tube be inspired by those who strive to create something different and then share it with the rest of us. Their vision, tenacity and sheer gumption is something that any business can learn from when deciding on their own path to market.