Date of publication: February 13, 2000
Get your signed copy of
The NEW Why Teams Don't Work
by Mike & Harvey Robbins
from Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Just click on the book cover!
A fully revised second edition of this award-winning classic
by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley
Winner, Financial Times/Booz Allen & Hamilton Global Business Book Award, Best Management Book - The Americas, 1995
"No one talks about the ups and downs of technology like Michael Finley. See his columns online at www.mfinley.com/. -- James S. Derk, Evansville (IN) Courier
"Editors want everything to fall into a neat little box, and your stuff
doesn't do that. You don't write merely about technology, you write about what technology means to us and how it has changed us. I like it." -- John Boxmeyer, St. Paul
"Editors want everything to fall into a neat little box, and your stuff doesn't do that. You don't write merely about technology, you write about what technology means to us and how it has changed us. I like it." -- John Boxmeyer, St. Paul
You know how every couple of years you look at your PC, poke a finger in the air, and declare, "Gee, it would be sure be nice to get a new computer"?
OK, freeze-frame. And think.
What happens to most people at this juncture is that they proceed mentally to the fun part -- what it will be like to have a nice new PC with all the latest, biggest and fastest stuff in it.
What I wish to suggest is that we proceed directly forward to the fun part because otherwise we must cope with a very unfun question embedded in the decision:
What's wrong with the old computer?
Now, you may think you're a tough guy. Maybe you unflinchingly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the old system and decide it's just plain obsolete. Hard drive's too small, microprocessor's too slow, etc. Being unsentimental about these things, you landfill the old system and replace it with a shiny new one.
But hey, tough guy, guess what? You're still a coward, because I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts you haven't been honest about what was wrong with the old PC. If it was just a drive or a chip, you could replace those. Snap, snap -- all fixed.
No, you want to desert your PC because you can't figure it out anymore. That's the dirty little secret of new PC sales. People don't buy new PCs because they want speed and power. They buy them because their old PCs have defeated them.
Take me. PC-wise, I'm a pretty tough guy. I change my own oil. I rotate my tires. I own a shelf-full of books about Windows 98 plus a crate of PC diagnostic tomes. I am not afraid to start tweaking, or to crack open a case.
But there are things happening inside my current box, a Compaq Presario 4784, that just defeat me. Here's a laundry list of problems dating back to purchasing the machine two years ago:
None of these things is a mortal wound. I could attach an external modem to solve the faxmodem issue. Et cetera. But I haven't.
All these things are fixable, but they are a bother, and the longer you have the computer, the bigger the bother seems.
And the more time passes, the closer you get to the moment of acceptable write-off - the moment when you cross your eyes, declare the machine to be "old," and the purchase of a replacement is acceptable.
And you immediately refocus your thinking on the beauties of the new machine -- that wonderful 500 Mhz chip, that unfillable 20 gig hard drive, and maybe the delicious new feature, like the rewritable CD-Rom.
You have to refocus, you know. Because to acknowledge what actually happens -- that we walk away from $2,000 purchases every 24 months because they have become writhing rats' nests of DLL files, entangled programs, minute Windows corruptions, and just too damn much on your hard disk.
It's shameful. To us, for being so intimidated and ineffectual. And to the industry, that counts on our being intimidated and ineffectual, and walking away.
Why do we buy new machines?
Because we want a fresh start.
To learn more about the Minnesota Folk Festival, visithttp://mfinley.com/folk
America's Best-Loved Futurist(TM), Michael Finley has a free gift for visitors to http://mfinley.com.
"A masterpiece of explanatory journalism!" - New Orleans Picayune
Stimulate the economy, give a poet a dollar.
I enjoyed serving this essay up for you, and I did it for free. But I am a few clients lighter right now than I need to be, and a bit of revenue never hurts. If you'd like to contribute to this site, consider dropping a $1 tip in the "Honor Box" here. Think of it as a voluntary subscription. Just click the CLICK TO PAY image here. Thanks! - Mike
Total tips, year
to date: $203.00 - MANY THANKS!