From the Mac Wars, a political warrior emerges
Oct. 1, 2013
The man who helped persuade North Carolina lawmakers to ignore sea-rise predictions got a start in state politics fighting his school district over Apple computers.
Main story: The man who made
sea-level rise go away
By James Borden
The Daily Climate
MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – John Droz today has a national reputation and platform fighting the politics and science on climate change and renewable energy. But his political start in North Carolina can be traced back to the Carteret County Board of Education.
In 2000 his local school district opted to ditch its investment in Macintosh computers and standardize to Dell PCs running Microsoft Windows. Droz, upset by the waste of what he claimed was a $10 million investment in computer hardware, software and training, took action.
In 2001, he founded the Crystal Coast Mac Users Group. And a new force in North Carolina politics was born.
The issue could not be further removed from the ones he debates today. But the fight foreshadowed many of the characteristics and techniques that would make Droz so effective a decade later, in North Carolina's capitol and beyond:
- Hit the books: Droz said he has spent 1,500 hours researching material, creating a website and PDFs and answering e-mails. "My challenge," he says on his website, "has been to find (i.e. research) and read well over 4,000 studies, reports, and articles that have been published on the Mac vs PC topic. No small matter."
- Argue the economics: Droz estimated the switch would cost the district an additional $1 million per year for technology expenses.
- Point out the follies – A switch to PCs was foolish, Droz argued, for a district that had already invested millions of dollars into Macintosh software, hardware, and training.
- Paint in black and white: The evidence was clearly on his side, Droz said repeatedly: Macs outperform PCs in nearly every category, as they have a lower lifetime cost, are higher performing, are more technologically advanced and are easier to learn and use.
- Be a bulldog: Droz lost his battle with the school district. But he never backed down, maintaining to this day a website packed with data supporting his various points. The site has been seen by some 1.2 million since 2002; its last update was November 2012.
James Borden is a freelance reporter in North Carolina.
The Daily Climate is an independent, foundation-funded news service that covers climate change. Find us on Twitter @TheDailyClimate or email editor Douglas Fischer at dfischer [at] DailyClimate.org
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