You know what's odd? I have had less success in getting people to switch browsers than switching computer systems.
I have convinced a number of people to get a Mac as their next computer. In the summer of 2004 the McKay family was a PC - Linux family. Today we're a Mac family. My brother and sister each have a Mac laptop. I'm on my second Mac laptop. My dad just got a 24" iMac for Christmas.
When I arrived in Ottawa the McQueens were PC people too. Then my brother, Jack, and I convinced Jane to get a Mac laptop for when she went to university. She fell in love with it. As did her brother, Bruce, and the rest of the family. When it's time for their next family computer, or when Bruce goes off to school they'll be joining the Mac club.
One time I was in CompuSmart and started selling a Mac to a poor innocent customer that happened to walk in and look at the Mac display while I was standing there with too much time on my hands. I don't know if she ever did get a Mac.
A couple at work read some of the Vista license restrictions and have decided their next computer will be a Mac.
A previous co-op student at work said she'd like her next computer to be a Mac.
And, yes, I'm forever bringing my laptop to people and demonstrating the neat things it can do.
Granted, I haven't been the sole reason any of these people switched. But I have certainly been part.
But to my knowledge I have only gotten the McQueens, and one other person to switch browsers.
Something seems off-kilter about that. Switching browsers is really really really easy. And free. If you decide "Nah, I'd rather risk getting spyware that will download childporn to my computer, then distribute it without me knowing, having a lesser web experience with a zero percent chance of awesomeness and use Internet Explorer than use FireFox or Opera" then you can always switch back. And all it cost you was a few minutes of your time.
But when you switch systems, from PC to Mac, it's gonna cost you. Depending on the Mac you get, anywhere between $700 to $3000. And if you decide you'd prefer a PC you can switch back, but now you have an expensive paper-weight, and you're out a ton of money. Not to mention the learning curve to learn a new system. (Yes, Mac is infamously easier, but a change is a change, and there is a learning curve.)
Yet I've managed to be instrumental in having people take the bigger risk in switching systems than switching browsers.
And as for credentials? If I tell you "you should trade in your Ford for a Saturn" that's just my personal opinion. I'm not a car person. I just have my personal experience to draw on.
When I say "You should get a Mac instead of PC for your next computer." I have more credence. After all, I do have two Computer Engineering diplomas and a B.Sc. in Computer Science. So this is in my field. So I have the weight of lots of education, work experience, and my own personal experience.
When I say "You should use FireFox or Opera instead of Internet Explorer." I have everything I have for computer switching....to the power of ten. While I am a computer professional I am specifically a web programmer. I deal with browsers all the time at work, and at home. (I am a web programmer in my "spare time" too.) When someone in my position recommends you switch browsers that should carry lots of weight. It isn't just my personal opinion. It is my professional opinion and recommendation.
Yet, for the most part, it seems to fall on deaf ears.
Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to call Steve Jobs and see if he'll put me on payroll.