I know I have been linking to Coding Horror a lot lately, but I cannot miss this one from Jeff Atwood where he wonders why the Microsoft and open-source communities are so much against each other. Whenever I talk to someone who is passionately for or against one technology without any exceptions, I want to ask them, “Are you in the business of serving your customers or are you just a slave to the propaganda of your side?”
Of course, there are deeper underlying issues behind such passion/hatred. One thing is that the critics don’t really know what they are talking about. For example, very few Mac or Windows users have used the other operating system for any length of time, but cannot stay away from criticizing each other. Someone hates C++ for being too complex, but hasn’t really used it in a real environment to know what it actually does. When you think about people burning books and banning videos without ever reading it, this shouldn’t be too surprising.
Here is an example of such lazy thinking. The author has analyzed blogs and found out that the ratio between “I” and “we” is much greater than in the English language. Hence, bloggers are more egocentric. If the author had bothered to stop and think for 10 seconds, she would have remembered that a blog is a diary and is written by a single person. But then she had her preconceived conclusion and the data’s purpose was only to reinforce that. Worse, the post was echoed by people like Kawasaki and Scoble.
Now, read this blog entry on Zune. What do you understand? Zune sucks, right? Now read this previous entry by the same author (Dave Winer). Oh, he was using the Parallels virtual machine on a Mac. If I was a Microsoft-hater, I could use the first entry totally out of context and blame Microsoft for bringing out a worthless product. And probably I would linked to by similar thinkers out there.
Take the time out to do more research instead of using emotions to filter out what you read and hear about. If you find yourself passionately for or against something, look carefully at your beliefs – can they face the light of facts? If you face an either-or situation like Microsoft and open-source, find out if they really are mutually exclusive or is that another unsupported notion?