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Quick Post- The Difference between Roaches and Bugs

Something interesting happened while I waited for my Five Dollar Footlong Today. 

A lady walked up to the cash register at Subway and said:

"Hey, what do you make of this cockroach right here in the middle of the floor?"

It was clear she was trying to make a scene. She spoke way louder than she had to and seemed to flaunt the newborn baby she had in her arms. The drama was thick, as if the cockroach was not only an affront to her but a direct health threat to her newborn's health.

Subway Employee: "What cockroach?"

Lady: "The COACKROACH right here in front of you, in the middle of this restaurant. Do you think a restaurant should have a COCKROACH right here by my table? 

If I were a drinking game kind of guy, I would've taken a shot of tequila every time she yelled COCKROACH.

The subway employee snapped at the woman, but ended up controlling herself. Her fellow employees rushed to clean up the offensive cockroach from the floor. They were able to handle it with less drama than the lady would've liked.

It occurs to me, that the lady, is a good example of how geeks behave when they find a bug in technology. They stand in the middle of the restaurant that is Twitter and immediately point out the bug. As for drama, intead of flaunting a baby, they mention the company's twitter handle in their tweet.

The beautful difference is that tech companies and startups love when their customers do this. They don't try to hush these types of complaints, they encourage them. Sure, they take anything nasty off-line and go through good social media protocols, but they want to listen to their customers.

This is a very hard cultural difference for digital natives and non-digital folk to navigate. Non-digital people tend to be offended by the fact that anyone is pointing out a mistake. They tend to be older and live by Mom's motto: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." They feel the same way that poor Subway employee felt.

They don't realize that Geeks, on the other hand, are grateful when you point out bugs in their code. They are always trying to listen to see how they can improve and make their product better. When they complain about a bug, it is not to spite you, it is to help you. They want others to do the same for them.

This difference quickly fueled my passion for digital when I began creating digital platforms for brands, rather than merely executing stories. It was also cause for several dramatic flare-ups between traditional advertising types and the newer technologists and developers who joined the team when I worked in advertising.

I'm glad I now now the difference. I'm glad I have learned the value of listening to feedback in order to constantly improve whatever it is I am working on. After all, it's just a bug, it's not worth making a big deal out of something that small.

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