You know how Apple keynote attendees will cheer wildly for the simplest, littlest new features? It’s laughable at times when Craig Federighi gets a standing ovation for a new obscure two finger gesture on the trackpad in Mail on OS X. (OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much, really…)
How does that happen? Is the power of the Reality Distortion Field so great that otherwise smart and logical people lose their minds?
Well, yes, there’s some of that. There’s also sleep deprivation. Those people in the first twenty rows were probably camped out on a cold San Francisco sidewalk six hours before the keynote began. They want to be excited by something, so they’re eager to applaud.
It’s a similar thing to the way stand-up comedians often get easier laughs from people who come in expecting to laugh and are eager to laugh, or magicians wow people with tricks because the people want to be astounded, even if they could figure out how it was done with two seconds thought.
But I think there’s another bigger reason to all of this, and it’s something that’s been on a slide in the last couple WWDCs.
80% of attendees are first timers.
For these people, it’s like Christmas morning. They’ve wanted to attend a keynote for years. They won the Apple lottery to land a ticket for themselves. This is the Big Event of the week. Their excitement is doubled, compared to anyone else’s. And there’s more of them than anyone else.
I’m not saying the newbies are ruining WWDC or anything. Heck, I’ve never been to one and I’d likely be just as excitable and want to hoot and holler for anything. Glass houses, etc. etc. I’m just saying it helps to explain why the developers are so likely to cheer for relatively minor things.
And don’t think Apple Marketing doesn’t know this, too. They want that cheering at the Keynote. If the 80% won’t do it, they’ll have Apple employees scattered in the crowd to help kickstart it… ;–)