Technology

No one likes change

Patrick Stafford /

I have a friend who really ticks me off.

She will never – and I mean never – drive on a freeway. She’s not scared, but she’s just used to driving into the city through backstreets. It’s what she knows, and she doesn’t want to do anything differently.

Even when you explain to her that she’ll save time and probably money by taking the freeway, it’s no use. She doesn’t want to consider the possibility of something different.

Throughout the last week, I’ve heard the same thing from dozens of iPhone users:

“I’m not so sure about this new design.”

They’re referring to the upgrade Apple introduced last week. The iOS 7 software brings a massive change to how the iPhone user interface both looks and operates, and for some people, it’s a bit of a stretch.

This whole change got me thinking about tech companies and innovation in general. At the same time we see plenty of calls for tech companies to continue innovating and challenging themselves with something new, at the same time customers tend to bash anything outside their comfort zone.

This isn’t a controversial statement. Check out the outrage any time Facebook introduces a new user interface update. Thousands of people say they’re going to quit, (they don’t), and the whole thing ends up fizzling out within days. People get used to a new way of doing things.

But that makes it harder for any company, not just Apple. Customers don’t know what they want until they’ve tried it, which makes it impossible to sell something weird or different yet that you know is going to improve their lives.

It’s funny the tech community has been hurting on Apple for a lack of innovation. I’m almost surprised they introduce anything new at all, as people are just going to hate it anyway. 

But that doesn’t mean they should stop. And neither should any other business. If you’re scared of the fact someone is going to hate what you release – then maybe you shouldn’t even be trying.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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