In this article from six years ago Heather Bussing throws prescient observations around like they’re as easy to come by as spam emails. She’s way ahead of the curve on topics like technology overuse, Facebook privacy, and software startup product culture. Enjoy! – ed
My favorite app is the off button. And my phone is, well, just a phone.
It’s not that I’m a complete luddite. I just have a healthy skepticism about technology as the solution for everything.
I’ve also been through too many new system implementations that failed. The worst was the calendar and document management program that ended up requiring several full time people just to maintain the system, regularly crashed the servers, decreased productivity, and dramatically increased employee consumption of psychotropic drugs.
Then there are the constant updates to the programs I use regularly, where the “improvements” mean that I spend another half-day relearning how to get it to do the stuff it did before. I have abandoned several browsers, calendar “solutions” and dozens of “tools” because of update dysfunction.
The program I hate most is Microsoft Word. It is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with technology. While technically Word can do almost anything you can think of, you can’t actually do it because you will never find the right commands. If you eventually do, it will screw up everything you just did. I want back the 1,726 hours I’ve spent trying to unformat Word’s auto-formatting.
Word makes me want to scream and throw things. Big things. How does such counter-intuitive, needlessly complicated crap become the program everyone uses? Oh yeah, it came free with the computers until enough people were using it to start charging everyone else.
Here are a few other important things I’ve discovered about new technology:
- All privacy settings on Facebook are an illusion.
- Twitter is mostly broadcast with little interaction. #twitterbation.
- Software users are really just lab rats helping developers learn how their products suck. That way, they can create more updates that suck in new and different ways.
- If it’s free, the real program is collecting data on users and how they use it. Then the developers sell the data to companies who want to sell stuff to you.
- Software startups consist of designers, engineers, and coders who spend all day figuring out how to do cool tricks that may or may not ever be useful. They are rarely trying to solve a problem that you have in real life. The investors and marketers then create a problem for you to have, so they can sell you software.
- There are two types of entrepreneurs: the ones who love ideas and the ones who love money. Buy from the ones who love money- their stuff is more likely to work.
So, before you buy that shiny new cloud workforce e-harmony on social steroids data analytics empowerment strategy system for mobile, ask the vendor: Does Prozac come with that?