MY LETTER TO BOB CRINGELY
I read Bob Cringely most every Friday. He covers the world of computers, originally as the gossip columnist for Infoworld, now on his own in association with PBS. His columns are both informative and fun, which is important for high tech writers. His website with PBS used to have kind of a Punch/New Yorker look, with creme colors and line drawings of things like frogs in top hats. I always thought it odd that for someone covering the world of the future, his web site was artistically a paeon of praise to the Victorian Era. Like all good web sites, his was redesigned, and now has kind of an aquamarine look to it, very modern, with a picture of him as a cross between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (are there any good parts of those two guys to get - besides the ability to make insane amounts of money, that is?). Naturally, some people complained and he recently wrote off the complaints to that old saw that people don't like change. I don't like inaccurate old saws (I love accurate ones), so I dashed off a letter detailing my feelings on the subject - no one is exempt when the mood takes me. I'm sad to report that, unlike most of my recipients, I didn't receive the slightest reply.
Subject: People Like Change
I love the redesign. The old look was old fashioned, which was kind of odd for a guy who's supposed to be covering the cutting edge of the cutting edge. The new design not only looks swoopy, it looks like that non-profit organization you've hitched your star to (for reasons known only to yourself) is finally making some money.
However, I can't stand that phrase "nobody likes change". Everybody loves change. People change their underwear at least once a day. Women try to buy enough shoes so that they never have to wear the same pair twice.
How many people do you know who take a vacation by staying at home and going to work? None outside the booby hatch - we all want to go somewhere we haven't been and do stuff we haven't done.
When Chuck asks the contestants on Greed what they would do with a million dollars, do they say "I wouldn't change a thing?'' No, they all have detailed ideas about exactly what all would change - new noses, new cars, new houses, new lifestyles.
How many men want to do the wild thing with the same woman for the rest of their lives, and how many women want their husbands to stay the same?
Please, people love change. The reason you got so many complaints instead of kudos is that unhappy people take action. Revolutions are not fomented by the content; letters are not written by the satisfied. This letter is a case in point - I'm happy with the redesign, so you get silence from me. I'm unhappy with your remark, so you get more than you want to hear.
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This page last updated 22 April 2000
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