Adequate is good enough

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Original Osborne luggable computer – my back still hurts when I see this picture

Not long after becoming a technology journalist I met Adam Osborne.

Osborne invented the portable computer. Let’s be honest, it was a luggable computer.

We borrowed one for review.

It was obvious a portable computer would change everything. It set us on the path the iPhone and the Galaxy S4.

Osborne was a visionary, even if he wasn’t a good businessman – his company went bust after two years.

One thing Osborne said struck a chord at the time: Adequate is good enough. 

He meant engineers should get a product to the point where it was adequate then send it out the door, not fanny about making everything perfect.

It’s a philosophy software companies like Google and Microsoft built fortunes on. Apple on the other hand fannies about making everything perfect.

Android works on the Adequate is good enough premise. Netbooks were adequate for most users. So was Windows. The fuss over Windows 8 comes down to the simple idea that for many users it isn’t adequate and therefore not good enough.

If you’re not a power user, a gamer or an Apple addict you can pick up an adequate and therefore good enough laptop for well under $1000. It’ll do everything you throw at it and then some.

In fact there should be enough change from that $1000 for an adequate but good enough smartphone. It may not have the latest features, but it’ll meet the needs of all but the most demanding users.

None of this is an argument against buying nice kit. It’s your money spend it how you like. But remember most of the time, you don’t have to break the bank to buy tech gear.

3 thoughts on “Adequate is good enough

  1. And how people use and NEED all the possible functionality anyway? Buy what you need, not what the next guy may have. I had that very situation today, a reader contacted me for advice on a camcorder for his son. He had budgeted $1700 when all he NEEDED to get what he wanted was $1100….

    • Yeah, advising people on computer purchases most are surprised my general answer is ‘the cheapest one’. While I balk at the specs of a Celeron laptop, it does a good enough job of web browsing for the general public.

      • I’m always amazed that people will fork out hundreds or thousands for far more computer hardware than they need who then turn around and complain about software costs.

        In my view, software decisions should come first and they should determine the hardware choice.

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