Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Closed Door Policy


When is a digit not a digit? When it’s a foot. That is, a digital foot in a metaphorical door to your computer. You’ve seen this image in old-time cartoons, from the days of door-to-door sales.

It’s most popular embodiment was probably the movie, The Fuller Brush Man, with Red Skelton (1948). Door-to-door sales are long gone, but every company (especially those you’ve done business with) wants a foot in your computer’s door.

Companies give away free software because it gives them access to your computer. They use this opening to stay connected. This foot in your door is their path to future sales. Everyday. All day.

To sell, they have to knock on your door. To do this, their software interrupts your work. They don’t care, because their goal is to maximize their presence on your machine. And mine.

Our goal is usually simpler, like trying to maintain workability. In other words, your aim and mine is to satisfice, to keep the machine running well enough to do what we need to do now.

What we really need in this game, and do not have, are choices. What they want is for us to always accept their latest and best. Why won’t they let us select the level of perfection we desire?

I would hazard a guess that your wants are similar to mine: leave me the hell alone until I have to make a change (fix an immediate security breach). Leave my good enough alone.

I want them to get their intrusive attempts to maximize their position on my machine the hell out of my face. If they want us as customers, why shouldn’t we expect them to treat us better?

They seem to forget (or choose to ignore) that they are not the only company putting their corporate feet in your computer’s door. They fail to realize the cumulative effect. All these intrusions only produce increased customer resistance.

I may not be able to keep them from connecting to my computer, or stop them from knocking on my door. But I don’t have to answer. Ever. Neither do you. I just wish I could slam my door on their feet—like they did in those old cartoons.

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