Is variety the spice of life?

Spoiler alert!!! I’m not going to answer this question, just pose food for thought.

Some people like making choices, while others would rather have choices made for them. You might be surprised to find that most people buy a phone to talk to other people. Having to decide between an iPhone, an Android device or a Blackberry when they all do basically the same thing can be stressful. Making the wrong choice can result in three years of pain while you wait for the contract to run out.

The same thing goes for buying a car, buying a computer or any other major purchase. We find that we are constantly defending our choices to our friends who made different choices and incompatibilities between devices means that we can’t easily share our lives with our friends.

There is no doubt that variety fuels innovation and that innovation is good. Society tends to weed out the bad ideas and new markets tend to settle out with just a couple of suppliers. I remember when the snow mobile first came out. I was in high school and there was a flurry of companies producing products. Do you remember “Snow Prince?” Within a decade most of the suppliers were gone and we now have one major supplier with just a couple of competitors.

So does Apple have it right with it’s walled garden approach?

I’m kind of sitting on the fence at the moment. The geek in me likes the open source approach, but another side of me likes the appliance approach. At one point I have my iPhone cracked so that I could use tools like scp to move files and images, but in the end I put it back. There are only so many open systems that I can support at any time and my phone is something that I need to just work.

I like variety but I like quality and tools that do what I need them to.



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