Friday, February 12, 2010

(empo-tuulwey) Change

A couple of recent posts tangentially touched upon change, so I thought I'd bring it to the forefront.

One of the underlying themes in this post was the assumption that younger people are more willing to change than older people. However, as this BusinessWeek post noted:

[A] PEW Center study showed last year that people in their 20s and 30s were actually more averse to trying new brands and products than were people in their 50s.

Then there's the whole ReadWriteWeb "Facebook login" controversy that I talked about here. One of my references, The Last Podcast post, noted that when people ended up at ReadWriteWeb rather than Facebook,

These people actually thought that somebody had either bought or redesigned their precious Facebook and now Facebook got so hard to use that they couldn’t get to Farmville.

I subsequently noted:

And before one assumes that such a negative reaction is confined to the technically illiterate, remember the negative reaction when FriendFeed introduced real-time and other changes? And THAT negative reaction came from people who are considered to be technologically savvy. No one likes change...

Indeed. Whether you're young or old, technically savvy or less so, you probably don't like change all that much. I'd venture to say that people who like change are in the minority, and even those people might like change in one arena, but hate it in another. Take the people who were absolutely thrilled when their Gmail accounts were filled with Google Buzz entries - what if you told them that as a next step, the ONLY way to access your Gmail would be to type "buzz" in a Google search box? I bet you there would be some really angry folks clamoring for "the way it used to be."

Change is necessary to progress, and sometimes far-sighted people will adopt change despite the initial backlash that they will receive. What if the original Apple Macintosh computers had gone with convention and retained 5 1/4" floppies? What if Ray Kroc had looked at the McDonald brothers' operation and decided NOT to expand it? What if we had elected Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton as President in 2008?

At the same time, sometimes change can go too far. The Edsel. New Coke.

It's impossible to know in advance whether a proposed change will be warmly embraced in the long term. So how do you decide whether or not to pursue a potential change?
blog comments powered by Disqus