I totally love my Sonos system — and hate it too. I’m happy when it works, but I’m so disappointed when it doesn’t. And it doesn’t work a lot.
Music pauses. A Sonos player will randomly stop, disappear from the network, then show back up again without any warning. I’ll curse loudly and complain to everyone who will listen to me until it works again and then I tell everyone how amazing it is and that they should buy it too.
It seems we’re spoiled with technology, take it for granted, and complain if it is slow or less than perfect. I don’t think we’re spoiled. Well, maybe we are, but that’s not the reason we complain. I think we complain because technology is always over-promising us stuff.
Now, if Sonos would market itself by saying streaming music from room to room is a really complex technological problem to solve, and that they’re the best in the industry, but not perfect, it would be easier to accept the occasional failure.
That, of course, isn’t how technology markets itself, or any product for that matter. The terms ‘Marketing’ and ‘Honesty’ seldom go hand in hand, which is really a pity. In my opinion, the best way to make people happy is by underpromising and overdelivering.
Why do we feel the need to promise perfection, hide bugs and flaws, and then accept people will be disappointed and underwhelmed? Isn’t it time we show the humanity behind the products and services we build? Can we accept, as makers and users, that everything is a ‘best effort’ and we should celebrate when things work while being slightly more accepting when they don’t? Perfection doesn’t lead to happiness. Accepting life isn’t always perfect, does.
Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have — even if that’s a Wi-Fi network that works only 95% of the time.