On walkabout in life and technology

Any Hint of Humanity Is Valued

For decades we have had corporatization, mass-production, and everything becoming the same, having personality drained from it. That became what was common and what was the norm. And then in the last, you know, 5, 10 years, this concept of like the artisanal, the special, the hand-made, like this is coming back ...

[interruption edited out]

... I think the reason why everyone loves all this hand-made crap today is because they are starved for authenticity after decades of mass-market personality-less crap, and they are starved for uniqueness, they are starved for personality and they are starved for authenticity and for people to talk to them like, you know, talked to like an adult please.

Lets not, you know like, my first job like out of college, my first job was an internship in college. I worked a summer at Nationwide Insurance, just like doing computer crap for them. And somebody, somebody fucked up at some point and my boss said, and my boss made some comment that indicated that this person had fucked up in some kind of much more nice way.

And I said "Oh, is he going to get in trouble for that?"

And she said "Well, it's a coaching opportunity."

And I was like "What? So does that mean he is going to get in trouble?"

And she just kept saying "It's a coaching opportunity."

And she wouldn't, she couldn't say he's getting in trouble.

And this has seeped in so far in business culture and everywhere in our culture that any hint of humanity in something is valued and its like everyone is starving for humanity and being talked to with respect like a real person, like an adult, and having some kind of sign that humans are behind this wall, that its not just a corporate machine transferring you to people who can't help you on the phone. Like some hint that there's a person behind this who is, who respects you and not in some token mission statement way, a person who actually respects you.

Marco Arment Debug Podcast 43 (10 July 2014)

I think Marco makes an amazing point here. All we use and deal with is corporatized, personality-less, robotiscized horror and so when we do actually get a person who helps, we grab on with both hands.

I use Hover because of this. I bank with HSBC because of this. I even pay American Express for his. And I use Apple products because of this.

Just look at Apple. Its products are full of personality. And you can meet real people in real stores to get real help at the genius bar. It’s humanity in action.

Compare that to AT&T, Verizon, utilities, and other banks with their remote call centers and robot answering services and recorded messages on how important you are and useless drones reading wordy scripts and not listening to you and not helping at all.

Who would you rather deal with?

Any hint of humanity in a product or service is valued, and those that recognize this and act on this are valued and loved and people, people like me, are prepared to pay a premium to have access to them.

Note: Marco quotes transcribed manually by me without permission, punctuation added, all errors are my own.

Follow the author as @hiltmon on Twitter and @hiltmon on App.Net. Mute #xpost on one.