The Charade of Presentation Layers

It seems superficial to state that I've been hooked into books and music purely by the covers sometimes. I can be innocently walking through a bookstore with the intention of reading and listening to many things I have no intention of purchasing when some design, flash, colour or font catches my eye. I've purchased books I didn't plan to purchase due to the dust jacket and found them to be good reads. Conversely, I've purposefully purchased books on knowledge I've sought regardless the cover and found them to disappoint me. I've picked up a CD while standing in line at a checkout due to the name, font or cover and added a couple of extra songs to my iTunes basket because of cross-selling or simply the flash of the media cover while surfing. Seems to make me superficial to be swayed by bling, but I know it happens. I have books I use for doorstops to prove it.

I've seen very innovative chopper designs (motorcycles) that evoked an emotive response and desire to purchase, though I did not for the very simple reason of cost -- so far. I've been emotionally moved by art, music and thoughtful designs in general. Perhaps interesting to me alone is that out of curiosity I've test-driven very nice, very expensive exotic cars. After driving and/or riding in them, I verifiably have no interest in riding in most of them again, let alone purchasing one even though they are considered to be "it" cars for the rich and famous. They look awesome from the street and cockpit, have unbelievable detailed design, powerhouses, etc., but I hated the way they drove and rode, not to mention the fact that in a couple of them I actually thought I would die (all engine, no possibility of surviving a crash). I've even given wine a second consideration due to the label even though I've never heard of the vineyard.

I have known PhD dudes that were extremely intelligent in their vertical knowledge space, but obtuse in nearly all else in life. And I know some dudes that didn't attend college or much of it, but have the attitude, aptitude and intellectual capacity and curiosity to devour anyone around them purely based on their zeal and hunger for knowledge. I've seen abnormally tall, lanky kids be disinterested and horrible basketball players and extremely ripped gym monkeys have zero cardio for half-court basketball. I've seen $2k suits on dudes that are diplomatic leadership idiots and people in ripped jeans and t-shirts who could lead people off a bridge due to their infectious personalities and vision.

I've seen software apps that have basically no functionality or less than I desire, but their presentation layer/functionality is so ripping tight that I want to use it anyway. And conversely I've seen apps that, no matter the functionality, I'd rather use the postal system to manage my bitstream with others than use that app. And I've seen apps that do one thing very well, and other apps that do many things horribly. I've seen corporate environments that are all trendy, organized and well-layed out, but discourage organic association, loud and unruly talk, and general co-located collaborative evolution other than through formal meetings and lunch-time jaunts. Far more enjoyable to me is seeing the teams that thrive at coffee shops and pubs putting out more tested, useful, innovative software than anything the corp environ could even hope to purchase or beat out of someone, let alone produce because of their brand.

Presentation layers are superficial. Sometimes they sell what isn't sellable, present what isn't presentable, hide what should be stated, or conversely mislead you to believe there really isn't anything there when in fact you're exactly wrong. Presentation layers, whether on software, hardware, generic product "X", or people, p.r.e.s.e.n.t. an image and sometimes we may be swayed to act or swayed to dismiss without looking below the outer candy layer. Take the time to look for and/or develop what should be in the center of the tootsie pop. And realize that value is subjective. Value, as portrayed by presentation, is relative and subjective making it all the more difficult to assess and conclude. To hook me by a dust cover is fine if the content is actually worth the book cost, otherwise the book goes to my "doorstop" stack and gets my opinionated rating in a public forum.

When making decisions, regardless the context, it is imperative that we look past the presentation layer and question; it is also equally important for there to be more to what we are and what we do than the presentation layer alone. Presentation layers are charades. Recognize it for what it is or be led off a bridge, buy stacks of bad books, or drink bad wine. I hate bad wine, though sometimes I don't know its bad until uncorked.

No comments:

Post a Comment