It's ok to adjust your expectations

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Today's post might seem off-topic, but it does relate to technology in the end.

Bracken and I are fans of the St. Louis Rams. In case you don't follow football, they were expected to be horrible this year but then they ended up being ok. Unfortunately they looked terrible at the end of the season and missed the playoffs. Many Rams fans are excusing their collapse by pointing out that we only expected them to win about three games, and they ended up winning seven. Clearly we should be happy.

Wrong. At the beginning of the season, sevens wins would have sounded great. But after watching the team play and seeing that they should have easily won 10 games, why should we be happy with seven wins? We have more information now than we had at the beginning of the season, and it would be silly not to adjust our expectations accordingly.

This type of excuse happens with technology all the time. Microsoft excuses how bad IE8 is by pointing out how much better it is than IE7. AT&T deflects criticisms of their network by bragging about how many new towers they build each year. In general, people seem to have an attitude that just because technology wasn't very advanced in the past, that means we shouldn't expect great things from our technology today. If I want a better phone, or a faster internet connection, it means that I'm taking tech for granted. Just think about how far technology has come in the past 20 years!

Well, I couldn't disagree more. It's ok to expect more out of your technology. When I use my phone, I expect it to actually work. This doesn't make me an entitled brat. This makes me a responsible consumer. I know more or less what we're capable of accomplishing with current technology, and I'm not willing to let expectations from years ago excuse the laziness of tech companies now.

As an example, I bought a Palm Pre about a year and a half ago. At the time, I thought it was the best phone on the market. I still think that it was the best phone, but that doesn't mean that it still is. It's been a year and a half and Palm hasn't made a new phone for me to buy, so I'm stuck using what I now consider to be a pretty crappy phone. I can't wait for my contract to expire so I can upgrade to something much better. The point I'm trying to make is that it's ok for me to feel this way. It's ok for you to feel that way too. Don't believe what so many people say about how it makes you materialistic, discontent, or a whiner. Technology is too important to be complacent. It's too important to accept excuses.

So go ahead, adjust your expectations, and don't look back.

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