Housing Tech Conference 2023
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Jeff is smarter than you, better educated than you and definitely knows best. He is probably better looking than you too.
Do you wish you were Jeff?
Well you shouldn’t. No-one likes Jeff. Even his own parents scarper out of the back door and hide in their neighbour’s shed when they see his car (which is better than yours) pull up outside.
Jeff’s mum would rather sit, uncomfortably, on a strimmer than spend the evening conversing with her own son.
But why? He’s brilliant isn’t he?
In order to demonstrate, here are three conversations Jeff has had this week:
Friend: I’m going to buy an iMac at the weekend
Jeff: When you buy a car do you ask them to remove half the features and double the price too?
Work Colleague: I’ve just bought a Windows smartphone
Jeff: Could you not afford a proper smart phone?
Milkman: Should I buy my wife a Kindle Fire for Valentines Day?
Jeff: Sure…if you want her to leave you.
In a nutshell, Jeff is a committed practitioner of techno-snobbery.
Spell Check has just informed me that ‘techno-snobbery’ isn’t actually a word. “Typical Microsoft. Always behind the times.” says Jeff.
But considering how vast and competitive the technology market is, of course Jeff exists.
You’ll find a Jeff whatever you’re talking about. Music, cars, TV, clothes etc. Wherever there is a competitive market, there will be Jeffs.
For example, at the start of last year I bought an Alfa Romeo. I got it at a bargain price and absolutely loved it. However, the main reaction I got when I told people I’d bought an Alfa was a smirk. “Unreliable” the Jeffs said. “I hope you’ve got breakdown cover,” they said.
Well, the joke was on them. It ran (almost) perfectly for a whole 8 months before the man from the AA informed me that the timing belt had snapped and it would cost more than the car was worth to get it repaired.
OK, on reflection that wasn’t a good example.
The point is that Jeffs will probably always exist. You may have even been a Jeff yourself at some stage.
I definitely have. I’ve made little sarcastic or condescending remarks about someone’s phone or laptop choices.
When I think about how I feel when people do the same thing to me, I realise how petty and immature I’ve been.
At the end of the day, it’s a way of showing off. A way to make ourselves feel somehow superior.
Really, there’s very little difference between ridiculing someone for their phone choice than, say, mocking a classmate at school about the brand of trainers they wore.
Does it matter what our friends think or what the media says? Well, to a degree, yes. It’s human nature.
But these aren’t the important factors. In the end it comes down to what we want, need, can afford and what just feels right.
As the age old saying goes, opinions are like smartphones. Everyone has one. Unless you don’t. In which case Jeff would have probably said “Go back to your cave, Grandad” before his head exploded with condescension.
We all have different needs for whatever we buy. There’s no point paying more for a 3D television if watching things in 3D makes you feel nauseous. Or if you only ever use your car for driving to work and back by yourself, buying a bus would be overkill. Unless you particularly like buses. In which case knock yourself out.
This is the same with phones. If you only want to use your phone for making calls and texting, you don’t need access to over a million apps. Or if you don’t mind paying more for reliability, then why not spend that bit more?
Maybe a certain device is just more in sync with other hardware or software that you already use. Our CEO David Stonehouse discovered the benefits of this when he broke up a five year relationship with Apple, opting instead for a Windows Phone and a Surface.
Sometimes it comes down to trust. You may have had a couple devices of the same brand and neither of them have let you down. So when you’re shopping around you will likely be drawn to that of the same brand.
In the end, all you can do is make a choice based on the factors that apply to you.
And if Jeff makes a comment, ask him if he has ever actually owned or even used the product in question. Chances are the answer is no.
Finally, for all the times I’ve been Jeff, I am sorry. I just wanted the cool kids to like me.
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