Nothing is Ever Good Enough


By Samuel Greengard

I'll be the first to admit that I have unrealistically high expectations about technology. Every time I whip out my iPhone, stream Netflix or use Facebook I expect everything to work flawlessly. Anything short of perfection leaves me muttering.

I'm not alone. These days, the technology bar has been raised so high that employees, customers and business partners have less than zero patience for glitches, bugs and hiccups. Some of this is understandable. People's lives and businesses depend on it. But, alas, a lot of the problem is basic human nature. We don't appreciate what we have; we bemoan what we don't have.

For millions of years people fantasized about flying. Some foolhardy brave pioneers lost their lives trying to invent and perfect flying machines. Now we sit in jet airplanes with the shades down watching a movie or playing Angry Birds while complaining there's no cup holder.

People used to dream about talking to people through Dick Tracy wristwatches. Now there is such a product. For the rest of us, there are smartphones, Skype and ultrasophisticated teleconferencing tools that bounce signals off satellites and through cell towers. You're actually seeing another person in another part of the world live!

Of course, yesterday's awe-inspiring miracle is tomorrow's yawner. Every invention eventually becomes nothing more than a toaster. All while oohs and aahs quickly morph into moans and groans when there's a dropped call, poor picture quality or tiny interruption.

Amid all this craziness, it's important to keep your eye on the ball. Just because people have high and sometimes unrealistic expectations doesn't mean there isn't some validity to their complaints. In reality, the whining gives you a pretty good idea of where an IT department or business should be.

So, get used to the fact that you're never going to feel the love and you will constantly hear all about what you didn't do well. Understand that you'll never get things perfect but you should never summarily dismiss complaints. View the criticism as positive feedback and a way to improve IT and we'll all come out ahead.

Ed. Note: See also Louis CK on technowhining.