Interview With a Switcher: Juan Proano – Part 1

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Date: Wednesday, October 16th, 2002, 07:43
Category: Archive

I had the opportunity to interview Juan Proaño, an Apple switcher last night. Juan is also a PowerBook switcher, which is cool by me.

Juan is the president of Plus Three a company that was synthesized out of a design firm in Philadelphia and a open source developer in Washington D.C. Juan’s major client is the Democratic National Committee and he splits his week between New York, Philadelphia and Washington – so he travels a lot. His company’s philosophy is to give away the software they develop – it’s all open source and distributed under the GPL license – and to make money on the implementation. And it appears to be working.

Juan was easy-going guy with an outgoing and positive attitude. After speaking with him for about 60 seconds, it was easy to see why Apple picked him. He is an excellent ambassador for the platform. Juan and I met at Jack’s Firehouse in the Art Museum section of Philadelphia on a rainy Tuesday night. He had the ribs and I had a pint of Yards ESB.

PP: When did you first get introduced to the Mac?
JP: I had never owned a Mac before my PowerBook, but I had purchased a PowerPC Mac for my sister when she was attending the University of Miami. They were all Macintosh there. She would ask me for help with it, but I told her that I couldn’t help her.

PP: When did you decide that you were going to buy a Mac, for yourself?
JP: I just couldn’t resist the PowerBook G4 Titanium when it first came out. It was the sexiest laptop out there.

PP: Did you buy one right away?
JP: No, I saw a friends [PowerBook G4] but they were too expensive at the time. I wanted to wait until the price came down first.

PP: Where did you end up buying your PowerBook?
JP: I bought it at Tekserve in New York. Totally awesome, they rock! I purchased a 667MHz Titanium and immediately upgraded the RAM. The only problem was that I purchased it right before Apple announced the combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive option, so when that was available I took it back in and had it installed.

PP: How was your first experience with your PowerBook? What do you remember about it?
JP: I was pretty savvy with computers, but my PowerBook was running Mac OS 9 and I couldn’t get my head around it – it’s definitely not as pretty (as OS X.) I can be a little hard-headed some times. (Laughter) Then, when I saw Mac OS X it made me want to play with it. There was a huge buzz around it.

PP: So how did you get picked to be a switcher?
JP: Well, I am the type of person that tends to stay up late and work on my PowerBook. I was surfing around and saw a link on the Apple Web site that said ‘tell us what you like about your Mac,’ so I wrote them an email. My fiancee was like, “don’t send them that!” But I told her that I wanted to and that maybe they would send me a free iPod. (Chuckles)

PP: So what happened next?
JP: Well, about two or three months went by without a response and I was kind of surprised. I thought that I would at least receive an auto-response or something. Then one day I received a phone call from Apple. They told me that out of 20,000 responses, they liked mine.

Tune in tomorrow to read Part 2 of my exclusive interview with Apple switcher Juan Proaño.

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