Do you like Apple’s Retina MacBook? Do you still enjoy wearing an Apple Watch every day? Maybe you like the look of Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 or use your iPad Pro as a full-fledged computer.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but you’re wrong. Wrong for liking things that others don’t, wrong for attempting to understand where these designs and products are coming from rather than critiquing the obvious compromises they’ve made or the places where they’ve actually chosen to diverge from the herd, wrong, wrong, wrong.
Well, maybe wrong, as long as the future plays out a certain way and those spouting constant criticism turn out to be right (even a broken clock…). And what is right? Is it vindication in finding a MacBook five years from now that’s much faster and has much better battery life? If so, the great online advisors can claim the win.
“See, we told you v1 was underpowered and had terrible battery.”
Or, “See, we told you that Tesla would have to change that no-grille design if they wanted to sell more cars.”
Problem is, they have merely predicted the inevitable. Computers will get faster, cars will have different visual touches, tablet operating systems will become more capable. Meanwhile, many must sit back and watch as the collective club nods sagely at each other for fear of ending up being the one who was wrong.
For being the one who liked Apple Watch 1.0, they will suffer the future torment of “I told you so.” And then won’t they feel dumb? After all, isn’t the most important thing to appear smart? Turns out (TM), you can be smart and disagree with the crowd. You can be insightful, and not correctly predict the future. And more essentially, simply by offering a different viewpoint, you can create a much more interesting discussion.
Am I encouraging vehement Mac vs. PC era arguments? No. Am I saying that the conventional wisdom of a few high profile voices is always wrong? No. But the discourse suffers from the fear of being in the out group, the fear of having a dissenting opinion. If we were all wrong a little more often, we’d have a much more varied conversation and foster inclusivity at a basic level.
So, I’ll say it. I think all of these products are great, intriguing, and worthy of discussion from many viewpoints, not just criticisms of their most obvious compromises. And none of them are perfect. None are above criticism, but they are above only criticism.
If you think the same, you should not be afraid to say so, because understanding why something is the way it is informs us of the reality in which we live and not a fantasy where we get to design a world we would prefer. After all, we don’t study the horse only to say that it is not a unicorn, and that if evolution (or deity) had only included a three-foot horn on the horse’s forehead, it would have been an acceptable creature. Instead we understand the beauty of the thing as it is, what evolutionary steps may have led to its current form, and maybe every so often wonder if the unicorn is out there somewhere.
The unicorn becomes part of the larger understanding, just as our wished-for versions of iOS or a Mac Pro with gaming GPUs should be a part. Speculate, certainly. Criticize, of course. But don’t forget that the larger part of the fun is to analyze and thus further understand the things we are interested in. Stop caving to the social pressure of being right. Be reasonable, be considerate, but worry more about appreciating the thing before leveling the same criticism that a half-dozen full-time pundits have already articulated.
It’s ok. Appreciation is not equivalent to inferior intellect.