Betting on the Winner

I spend too much time thinking about the strange psychology that has us all make a personal investment in the inanimate objects we choose. Why is that there are “Windows people” and “Mac people?” I don’t mean, why do some prefer to use one or the other. Why do we have camps of people obsessed with their choice being the “right” choice for everyone?

When I switched from OmniFocus to using plain text for managing my work, there were several types of responses from various teams. There were happy OmniFocus users that declared my choice was invalid because of {insert software feature}, the anti-OmniFocus group that offered kudos and a third group that suggested my primary issue was that I didn’t use Android or Windows or some other option they deemed superior.1

I completely identify with this behavior. It’s easy and oddly rewarding. It’s a self defense mechanism that shields or bolsters my ego. It feels good to have my decisions validated. There’s no authoritative reference guide for life decisions and that means I’m always wondering if I chose the wrong page in my Choose Your Own Adventure book.

I’d also like to be a little generous to myself. There’s another reason, while also selfish, that benefits others. I don’t want the things I like to go away, or worse, fall into disrepair. I have this potentially flawed logic: if only I could get everyone to like and endorse the thing I use, it will succeed, prosper, and improve. In same ways, I think OmniFocus is a good example of that.

The OmniGroup is one of the best software companies I’ve ever dealt with, personally and professionally. Their software is meticulously crafted, thoughtfully shepherded and consistently improved.2 I’ve received support responses from their CEO on a weekend. I’ve seen a feature request make it into the shipping product and be ten times better than the actual request. They take their time but it’s because they care about what they are making. But their software doesn’t work the way I need it to. Something else works for me.

I’ve come a long way toward recognizing this pathology in myself. I don’t care that much about what anyone else chooses. I’m still nagged by my desire to promote things I think are great. I’m not completely sure why. I like using my Mac. I like my for-pay email service. I like my text editor. In general, I’m happy with my tool chain and I’d like other people to be happy with theirs. But I hope I’m also a little more self aware today than last year or the year before.

  1. I’m going to break the third wall of blogging. Or maybe it’s the third rail. I don’t know, but I’m going to switch from third person to first person because I think that’s more honest even if I do think it’s a common problem. ↩︎

  2. The word “crafted” is over used and it’s too bad. I love the idea of a craft. Someone with extraordinary skill applying it to something they love is one of highest forms of human achievement. I also believe that almost anything we can make can be crafted, but mostly it is manufactured. So, when I see something like OmniFocus, I want to use the word “crafted” and I’m damn well going to mean it. ↩︎