We like to look at people who have succeeded and try to trace their path so that we can follow it ourselves. This is not usually a bad idea, but not always the best move.
Tracing success often means we forget the context. Some people are only successful because they took advantage of opportunities already present in their situation. These same circumstances may not be around for those who are following them.
“Should you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him,” as the Buddhist saying goes.
On the other hand, we don’t devote as much time to the study of failures. However, there is much to learn from these. Yes, there are times when something fails because the circumstances weren’t right. However, some failures – particularly in the tech world – are just the result of some bad decisions.
Take, for example, the many bad versions of Windows OS.
We begin with the most reviled version of all: Windows ME.
Every tech nerd has heard stories of how, after leaving it alone for a while, just moving the mouse could make it crash. A combination of ageing architecture, a rushed release, and many flawed features has made it memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Never mind that it did away with the DOS feature that allowed the previous versions of Windows to install older software. Backwards compatibility is a problem for operating systems, just because of some people like older iterations of their favourite things.
You being stuck with Internet Explorer, as other browsers were not standard back then, did not help.
After ME, we got XP. People loved XP. After XP, we move on to Vista. As some might call it, Windows “Vistake.” Some folks joke that Vista established or reaffirmed the pattern that after a good version of Windows, we get a terrible one.
Vista is hated for many reasons. The most famous of them is UAC. User Accounts Control in concept was meant to limit the ability of programs from running wild with administrative privileges. In practice, if you did not shut it off, you were liable to be able to do absolutely nothing with your computer.
It demanded confirmation for anything you wanted to do, from installing software to just opening a program. Vista simply did not want you to do anything.
It did not help that Vista was so drastically different from XP that compatibility was a major issue. Some software, drivers, and widgets simply stopped working. This did nothing to endear Vista to people who might have otherwise used it. Developers were slow to adopt to the new architecture, making it worse.
Finally, there is Windows 8.
Win8 is reviled not because of having overwhelming technical problems. It still has those, but they are much more manageable than in Vista or ME. No, 8 is a problem because it changes too much for no reason other than change.
The Start button, a staple since the 90s, is gone. The interface looks completely different, a degree of change even more drastic than XP to Vista. There was also a greater focus on touchscreens, which left the more traditional keyboard and mouse combos in a lurch.