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Technology for technology's sake - we, the silent majority, don't care!

Whilst I am deep in it (technology) and I even enjoy the use of it (technology - computer stuff) I generally can't be arsed with the internal workings of it. In fact I don't care that Google uses Linux, that the project I'm running at work is based on MOSS or that Firefox is a better browser because it's open source.

I care about passionately and with increasing frustration is HOW it betters the world! I mean that.

For instance, I use Google Docs because I can access MY information from anywhere I want and don't have to lug around a laptop or wait until I'm at home on my PC. That's it! Now there might be subsidiary reasons that keep me with Google Docs and away from, say, Zoho ... but really, I don't care - it's doing it for me.

And I'm happy. And therefore the happiness of the world is raised a wee bit.

This view is, I think, the majority view. It's how my father sees the world*, it's how Liz sees the world, it's how Jack sees the world ... it's how nearly everyone sees the world. "What does it do for me and does it make my life easier/happier?"

Apple get this. Microsoft doesn't**. Google gets this. Yahoo! forgot it. Scrum Masters get this. Project Managers generally don't.

And that's my beef with IT geeks. They think it's about the technology. They love telling us what it's running on, what version it is and what fricking operating system it's compatible with. WE DON'T CARE!

I think one of the worse symptoms of this is being told that I need training in it (technology). Fuck, in today's society if it can't be made to work how I work then there's a big bloody issue with the design of the software, surely. Flickr does exactly what I (and many others) want. Google finds stuff - that's what I want. Why would I need training on these?

But inside organisations the prevalent view is still, "We must have formal training on XYZ software". No, people want to satisfy a need. They want to find things, do things, communicate with people. They don't care it's using XYZ, just let them get on with what they want to do.

Here at work I talk about 'features' (stolen from a quote I heard by Larry doobery from Google). We don't release software, staff don't care about technology (well, mostly - we are an IT company and people are curious), staff want to know how to satisfy a need. This need might not by 100% satisfied by XYZ - that's fine, we tell them how to satisfy it.

We most certainly don't train on XYZ - they don't care!

* My father hated Gmail when I first put him on to it - it didn't work how he wanted. Over time he changed his view and now uses it without a mutter. But he changed, and if he hadn't he wouldn't be using and fair enough too

* * Prime example of Microsoft (and other "PC/software" companies not getting it - look at the TechEd conference subjects and note that they've only just brought in to the "Voice of the Customer" track after feedback - i.e., it's still hugely about the technologists and little about the people who have the technology foisted upon them - very un-Web 2.0