Wednesday, 15 October 2008

You are (probably) not in the majority

As I am in the market for a new laptop I have been keenly awaiting the news of the new MacBooks and reading various forums. I have a couple of requirements and wants for a notebook. Ideally, I want a 15.4” Widescreen laptop with a 1680x1050 display. I would settle for a 17” machine with the same or a higher resolution. I also want a 7,200 RPM disk as I do a lot of file-based work (SQL Server, etc).

It is interesting to see how many people make comments on sites about how Apple are stupid not to support feature X, Y, or Z. As some contributors are on a forum will also agree with a viewpoint, people feel more and more justified that Apple have got it wrong. The fact is that Apple, as a company, are interested in their bottom line. The more automatable a process is and the fewer different parts to construct the better the returns. Apple will have the data available to them to help them make the decision on whether removing feature X and adding feature Y will increase the general appeal and, therefore, profits. You also have the option as a consumer not to buy a product if it is not what you want. Of course, vendors do not always get it right and that is reflected in sales, usually resulting with a product update to address the issue.

Another case that comes to mind is the Linux versus other platform debate. What the majority of exponents don’t get is that it is not ready for less tech-savvy users. Even if there is a family member or friend to assist somebody non-technical users generally dislike learning something new and different.

As an example, take a look at a few of the arguments we put for technology and ask yourself honestly if the majority of users are interested if:

  • It runs faster
  • It is more configurable
  • It is not Microsoft (!)

One of the great aspects of the web is that it has enabled us to share our views with others. However, we should not misinterpret a wider (but still relatively small) community view as global consensus.

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