The Daily Zen #8 “Winners, Losers, & High School”

Wow, I’ve somehow managed to write two of these on back to back days, almost daily again! I did get a couple suggestions on new titles for these posts, although still weighing my options. I always enjoy feedback, even negative, so feel free to contact me. Let us begin.

Many times in the tech sphere there is a trend to want to find winners and losers. If something isn’t the most popular, it’s “dead,” and the most popular competitor has “won.” However, just because something isn’t as popular as it once was, or there’s a much more popular competitor, doesn’t mean it simply disappears. The world is much more complex than the binary distinctions we like to make about companies or products.

Look at the history of the Mac v. Windows debate. For years, people argued about which side would win the OS war, Apple or Microsoft? For a time, Windows had well over 90% market share and I’m sure there were many articles about how Microsoft had won and that Apple was dead. Yet, the reality was Apple didn’t die and continued throughout that time. People still used Macs, even though they had just a tiny sliver of the market. Apple eventually rebounded significantly and Macs have continued on for many years now, long after all the pundits declared them dead.

I think this shows how seeing the world in these stark terms blinds one to the reality of the situation. Markets can sustain more than one company or product. There doesn’t have to be an ultimate winner in everything, and most of the time the market is fragmented into various successful companies and products. You can have Android with a huge market share and still have iOS be successful and profitable; neither side has to kill the other to survive. Markets are endlessly complex things filled with shades of gray, and while it’s nice to try and fit them into set boxes, it’s fantasy, plain and simple.

I wanted to highlight a great post by Joe Rosensteel, “Not My Cup of Coffee”. In it he reminds us all that we don’t have to like everything or always go along with the crowd. We all are individuals and have our own specific interests, and tastes, and things we enjoy. This is probably something that we all realize intellectually, but our emotions of wanting to fit in sometimes make us pretend to like something, even though deep down we despise it.

In some ways this is high school all over again, and as adults we should have overcome things like this. However, even as we grow older, the battles of high school continue. Any community you choose to be part of will inevitably have cliques, and outcasts, and the “popular ones” – it’s just human nature. Yet, what Joe is saying in his post is that you can fight against all this. You don’t have to repeat your bad experiences in high school and can express your opinions and tell people you don’t like things. I encourage everyone to follow his example.

Old Computer Game of the Day: “Wolfenstein 3D” This was a game I played endlessly as a kid on my old Performa. It was fairly revolutionary in terms of being one of the original first-person shooters. It’s available on iOS and while it doesn’t hold up quite as much as I had hoped, it’s worth the $1.99 purchase price, if for the nostalgia alone.

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