Beware the power of the status quo
Many of us get into ruts and stay there, preferring the mediocre known to an unknown. Why? We prefer the known, even when it is bad. So many of us fear change of any sort that we’ll do nearly anything to hold onto the status quo. You see this in software user acceptance testing. It can be hard to get someone to use a new piece of software — even a mobile app — when they have no history of using it. They not only need to learn about the app through marketing, but they need to get what is in it for them nearly immediately in order for them to download it. Then, they need to actually use the new app. Then, preferable to the app maker, they need to work the app into their daily behavior. Does this sound like a lot to ask of someone? It is. Especially if they have little experience within the domain in which the app resides. Even if the app is truly good for them and will enhance their efficiency and effectiveness, this promise is often not enough to convince them to alter their behavior. The status quo wins again.
One group hates change. The other makes change happen.
You see this in the Mac vs. PC battles. Mac users think about how bad PC users have it (they have no idea). While Microsoft has made great strides in their user interface, user experiences vary depending upon the person. One person thinks Microsoft’s new user interface is terrific while another person thinks it is horrific. Mac users think PC users lack imagination and creativity and work in Excel all day long. PC users think all Mac users are immature, irresponsible young people who think they’re better than them. While the battle hasn’t been as salient in recently years due to a lack of marketing, these conversations still ensue. One group hates change. The other makes change happen.
I experienced the PC-to-MAC switch personally well over a decade ago, and have never looked back. While everyone’s switch experience is slightly different, I made mine out of necessity. The PC user experience simply kept letting me down. Whether it was the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), applications incessantly crashing, terrible viruses unwittingly downloading, Junkware / bloatware preinstalled at the time of OS installation, AOL, shall I continue? For me, the PC experience was lackluster at best, and this was after a decade of use, since the early 90’s. I sought a better way.
It was like you had an inside advantage that few others knew about.
At the time, Steve Jobs exhibited the new iMac to the world. He extolled its virtues. He discussed his Mac OS X operating system and how it all “just works.” He was enthusiastic in his demonstration. He talked about the iMac like a proud Papa, like it was a member of the family. Jobs’ pitch worked on me and I bought. I not only bought, I sold Apple products as well soon thereafter. And they were a blast to sell. I remember the iMac being so dang fun to use. I remember it working seamlessly. I remember beginning to blog on it. I remember doing web design and development on it. I remember hammering out UNIX commands in Terminal on it. I remember doing cool things on it, sharing them with others, and having people wonder how I did it (it was always easy — it almost felt like cheating). It was like you had an inside advantage that few others knew about. Steve created a cult-like following through his products and his pitches. Watching his product launches was like watching a master perform. Tim Cook and his leadership team continue these to this day, and they’re still wonderful. (How many product launches do you want to watch again a month later?)
Change is natural. Why be afraid of it if you’re living it?
The fact that technology changes all the time is cliche. Apple and Microsoft and Google enact these changes on a daily basis. They’re working on them right now, in fact. To dislike change or to take a negative attitude toward it is strange. It isn’t just technology that’s changing all around us. We’re changing, too. We’re works in progress. We are projects. What we want changes. What you wanted at 20 is different from what you want at 40. Our values change. Our bodies are constantly changing. Our children are constantly changing. Even our parents are changing (though they don’t like to admit it). Change is natural. Why be afraid of it if you’re living it?