I spent two years (1992-1994) in Buffalo, NY. My first conversation with a native Buffalonian went like this:
Me: Hi, I’m Glen.
Buffalo: Hi Glen, where are you from?
Me: Just outside NYC.
Buffalo: Hmmm. The wings suck there. Pizza too. Plus did you know the Buffalo Bills are the only NY football team. The Jets and Giants are in New Jersey. Buffalo is awesome!
Ok, so what happened here? Why did every native of Buffalo get really defensive when talking about NYC? How did the Buffalo Bills become synonymous with people’s personal identity? Why are wings and pizza so important?
I think the root of this was that Buffalonians were insecure about their identity living in a really depressing situation. Buffalo’s glory days are behind her. Unemployment is very high. The weather SUCKS by any normal person’s measure. It’s a sad place to be. How can any city live in the shadow of NYC; the metropolis; the Big Apple? So people get defensive about every perceived slight.
I recently got an Apple iPad and was evaluating it according to the only method I know how: A crit. A crit is short for critique and every art student learns how to do one in high school. You are overly critical and nit-picky during a crit. You try to poke holes in the art for the purpose of making it better. A crit is designed to make the piece stronger, not to make the artist feel badly. I am critical of every product and service I use because it helps make the world better.
It’s not personal. I constantly evaluate everything around me with an eye towards how it works well and not so well. I did this the other day with the iPad. The next thing that happened were a bunch of Apple fans (short for fanatics) telling me how much the iPad rocks and how everything else sucks. It was like Buffalo all over again.
I’m not saying the iPad sucks. I am saying that it seems to be a tweener in size and power that make it’s usage questionable. I am exploring it’s usage in the best way I know how; by using it. Don’t be critical of someone’s first impressions. They are important clues to how the device can improve. The iPad will get upgrades in the coming years as will netbooks, e-readers, phones and other devices.
Be critical of your world. Be critical of Apple. Be critical of yourself.