Posts Tagged technological simplicity

Going old school for valuable lessons

At the risk of betraying my age, I confess that I started shaving with an injector razor.  One of the simple handles into which you jacked a new blade every week or so.  After a brief learning curve, during which time my face sprouted small white squares of toilet paper anchored to various nicks and cuts, I settled into a more or less daily routine that satisfactorily denuded my face.

For decades thereafter I was a willing victim of the personal grooming marketing machine.  I was convinced time and again to upgrade my technology and adopt new standards.  I embraced the convenience of the first cartridge razors, fell for the double bladed “first blade tugs the whisker up while the second one lops it off” animation, and even toyed with triple blade razors for a time.

However, when the 5 bladed razor (6 if you count the obverse-mounted sideburn harvester) came out I finally called BS.  In a fit of nostalgic rebellion I scooped up an old 2-sided safety razor and bought a $2 pack of double edged razor blades at the store.

Do you know what?  It works.  It doesn’t just do a passable job; with a bit of preparation and a appropriate attention to detail the old fashioned razor gives me as good a shave as the flashiest multi-bladed, feature-laden razor at the store.  Maybe better.  And at less than 1/10 the price for refills.  In retrospect, I’ve been a willing victim of technological feature creep.

A multi-bladed razor is just one example of an over the top solution to a simple problem.  We run into this all the time when it comes to computers and technology.  Sometimes we get carried away and do things just because we can.  Feature lists and data sheets are full of “enhancements” that nobody but the most hardened technophile will ever implement.

Don’t be led down the garden path.  Be a technical realist.  Take a look at your daily routine and see if there is a way to simplify.  My guess is that that you’ll find more than one.  You might even think of one while you’re shaving.

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