Most people that are heavily involved in IT, in writing systems, in websites, in development are at least to some extent geeky. We like tech. We think it’s funky. Show us a Devil Duck USB gadget or some precariously stackable lamps and we’ll lust after them until we finally can afford to get them. Similarly, we ache for Powerbooks and similar shiny tech. We love to hack things, to understand how they work to get the most out of them. We treasure little tips and tricks and efficient use of systems (even though they eat away our lives). We all have terminal cases of NADD.

All this makes us perfect for playing with new tech. We want to understand it, to use it, to make the most of it. We live through the frustrations, spend hours making things elegant, efficient, pretty, packing in features as if there’s no tomorrow. If we can have it, we want it all-singing, all-dancing, with bells on. The inventor of the Swiss army knife was definitely one of us.

We are, however, crap “average” users and crap at developing for them and selling to them. We can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want or need all the extra functionality we can think of. Why they might just want to do the task a simple, easy to learn and remember way (yes, command line whores, I’m looking at you 😉 ). That advances in user-friendliness and usability in those core areas is immensely more important than all the cool things we can think to add to the system. But the worst impact of our very nature is when we are trying to roll a product out, to sell it to the users. Because we are geeks.

Because we are geeks, we assume that people will buy something just because it’s cool, or funky, or has great new features, allows you to calculate how much of your time you spend getting stupid statistics about how you spend your time. Normal people don’t buy things because they’re funky — not systematically anyway. Geeks don’t even buy normal mugs — they all have to have clever slogans.

So why do non-geeks buy things? And how do we adapt to sell to them better? I’d love people’s thoughts on this.