Needs and desires

               Well, I’ve finally watched 50 shades of stuff. With my wife. We both agree, it’s a bloody waste of time and money. Now how… No, wait, wrong question.. Why? Why do people like that crap? It’s not romance, it’s not love, it’s something I can’t define or describe in words that don’t include the usual expletives, and I won’t try to because apparently profanity can get my blog in trouble. Again. But that’s not the point of this here brain twister. The point is… wait for it… the title. What exactly is the difference between what we need and what we want? And why is that knowledge so bloody important?

               Well, I still can’t understand hipsters, for one. I can’t understand how people in their twenties think. I may not be that old but compared to these folks, I’m an old fart. Really now, I understand technology better than most of them, because technology is the framework – they have apps they use, but the apps are built on that framework. They think technology is there and has always existed – but I still remember going to various internet places to check email because in the 90s there just wasn’t that much internet around. Not to mention Google. Internet access apparently is a human right, now. Some wheat farmer in the mid west is ROFL-ing at that, I’ll bet. So I’ll just avoid sites like Thought Catalog because they’re full of bullshit, not to mention they break if my Firefox Tracking Protection is enabled (which it is, because that’s how I roll).

               We need food. We need water. We need sleep. We need shelter. Those are needs, without them we’re kinda screwed. Brand clothes? Latest smartphones? Crazy gizmos? Luxury foods? Those are wishes. Those are really wishes, desires, not actual needs. I find myself at odds, often, with young people asking for more complexity on a basic item, since I know complexity and usability don’t usually go hand in hand. So why would you connect a lightbulb on the internet? To tell you when it’s broken? Gee, must be hard to check on it in the dark, you know, when the “on” switch doesn’t make light.

               I sometimes get to say this here gem: “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. Because our reality conforms to SNAFU order of business, sgt. Bilko is ever present. You have no idea you can be happy without all those fancy gizmos. Really. I could go on for ages about that, but I won’t, there’s bigger fish to catch. You see, no big change happens without pain – take Microsoft’s case on Windows 8 and the metro UI in MS Office… It went so well they skipped a version number. There will always be early adopters of technology, it’s new, it’s shiny, it’s an ego boost to just be first. However, it’s quite easy to mistake early adopters for demand of a product or a service. You might see all hell breaking loose or huge waves of positive feedback, but without a proportional impact on sales. That, folks, is a failure to correctly set the demographic. It’s like conducting a survey for internet access, on facebook. Maybe 110% is legit, I don’t know. Apple Watch, here’s looking at you, kiddo..

               Technology used to be about assisting human beings, making their work easier and faster. Now, we build it because it’s expected of us. What’s the age of your smartphone? How about your refrigerator? How about your car? You see, your car and your smartphone are the most visible in society, so we tend to change them faster than household appliances. They’re part of us, or that’s what most people tend to think these days. How can I be seen with an older smartphone? Or, heaven forbid, one of those things with buttons, like they used to make… Nevermind those were still in demand a year or two ago. I have an image to uphold, right? Wrong. I’m asking the wrong question. You have every right to do that, to change every single piece of prop in your life, from clothes to car, if that’s your wish. But have you ever stopped to think if that’s what you need? What’s your long term goal? Spending your money on every little thing is the right way to achieve your goal? No? Then why?

Post scriptum:

               I think Einstein had it right – we did make things simple but we should have stopped there.

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