Elite Irony

Jeff Bone jbone@jump.net
Mon, 21 Jan 2002 11:37:25 -0600

One random thought about all of this:  isn't it ironic (as opposed to
unfortunate, like Alanis Morrissette's misunderstanding of the term ;-) that the
"consumer" user interfaces that the unwashed masses mindlessly embrace are far
*more* complex and *less* usable than the simple, broadly-used metaphors
advocated by some of the fringe CHI "elite?"  That they result in *more*
balkanization of communities, data and functionality, *higher* adoption costs
over time --> slower adoption, and *less* Metcalfe-value created in all our
computing systems taken as a whole?

I'm hip to Tom's dream on many levels, but it seems to me that without an elite
to safeguard the conceptual high ground, progress inevitably grinds down,
innovation gets lost in the lowest common denominator, etc.  I.e., "democracy"
isn't always the best solution for every problem.  Sometimes --- far, far less
often than is claimed, but sometimes --- maybe the geeks do understand what the
users need better than the users themselves.

Sometimes.  Maybe.  And it's not a good proposition on which to build a company.