The Levison Letter

 

Macintosh and me -

My (minor) brush with history

October, 2012
 

The first Macintosh computer went on sale on January 24, 1984.

 

Those original Macs came bundled with a grand total of two applications: MacWrite and MacPaint, applications that showcased the new computer's unique graphical interface.

 

But of course more applications were in the works and Apple wanted a copywriter to create a lively catalog that would feature thirty-eight of the most exciting software offerings available for the new computer.

 

So they called on me to write it.

 

Mac Catalog Cover
The 1984 Macintosh 
Software Sampler

That was the beginning of what was to prove one of the most intense, demanding, nerve-wracking, and satisfying projects of this direct response copywriter's long career.

 

In the course of creating the catalog I never did meet Steve Jobs, but the people I did work with all shared his oft-described manic energy and enthusiasm.

 

What software did I write about?

 

Well, there was a young company called Microsoft that was offering a word processing program for the Macintosh called Microsoft Word. "Maybe they'll go places" I thought, as I wrote a short blurb for their product.

 

There were also applications from developers who are now defunct. Hayden Software, for example, had an innovative chess-playing application called Sargon III. I only had 120 words to describe it, so here's how I used them:

 

Sargon III

 

Your Macintosh is a master of disguises.

 

Electronic spreadsheet one minute. Sophisticated graphics tool the next.

 

And now a chess master.

 

Sargon III. Chess for the beginner or expert.

 

In this chess game, you use the mouse to move your pieces. And pull-down menus to select the game's different options, such as level of difficulty (there are nine).

 

Because Sargon III is such a good sport, it's perfectly willing to suggest a move. Take one back, if you insist. Replay a sequence. Or change sides.

 

You can also sharpen your tactics by replaying 107 of the greatest games in chess history. Or by solving 45 classic chess problems.

 

Sargon III. The best move you can make.

 

It was fun writing that, and the other thirty-seven blurbs.

 

Anyway, the punch line of this story is that my Macintosh software piece was recently acquired by the Computer History Museum - "the world's

computer museum
The Computer History Museum
largest history museum for the preservation and presentation of artifacts and stories of the Information Age located in the heart of Silicon Valley." 
 
It turns out that my catalog actually has historical value and was "accepted into the collection after careful consideration by a team of curators."

 

 Am I happy about that? You bet I am and I'll tell you why.

 

I like the idea that in a hundred years someone may pick up my dusty Macintosh catalog from way back in 1984, read my copy, and say, "Boy, that guy could write!"

~~~

 

I can't promise that if I do some copywriting for you I'll land you a place in history. But I sure would love to give it a try. Give me a shot at copywriting an email, letter, web page, or whatever, and at least let me make you some money. That I know I can do.

 

Let's go to work!

How to get in touch . . .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Phone: (415) 461-0672
E-mail: ivan@levison.com
Fax: (415) 461-7738
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Ivan Levison. Direct Mail, Email & Advertising Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive, Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone (415) 461-0672      Fax: (415) 461-7738
E-mail: ivan@levison.com

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