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Car Analogies

Today I want to comment on something rather odd. I might even get some feedback on this with any luck although I know that only a small fraction of the visitors to my blog ever reply (my blog has over 1 million hits but only about 2000 comments and I know most of those are by me and SBFL).

Often I need to use an analogy to make a point or clarify an idea to someone. Maybe its just me but I find cars are a good point of comparison. That could be because I’m interested in cars (Top Gear is not only my favourite TV program but its the only one I really put any effort into watching). The question is, of course, do these analogies work for other people (especially for those who might not be quite so interested in cars).

Here’s an example. Many people tell me they would never buy a Mac because a PC will do all the same things and cost less. I have a look at their car and ask why they are driving a Holden Commodore (for example) when a Lada would cost a lot less and do the same thing. They look offended and point out that their car cost a lot more but its also a lot better. Hopefully at that point they also see why they should own a Mac instead of a PC.

About a year ago (2008-06-08 to be exact) I wrote a blog entry titled “Is Mac Like a Porsche?” where I argued that the Porsche characteristics of being the practical supercar made it a bit like a Mac.

So what would a PC be, using this same analogy? In the other entry I entertained the possibility of PCs being like a Reliant Robin (a hideous British three wheeler) but that’s taking it too far. I then thought of a Toyota Corolla because they are plain, widely used, and totally lacking in any real personality. But Toyotas have legendary reliability and that doesn’t seem to fit PCs very well, at least not PCs running Windows.

So my analogy seems to break down a bit here. I really couldn’t think of a car which really suited the PC without being unkind to the car or the PC.

But what about other car analogies? I often use them with other technology items but the more I think about it the more senseless they seem to be. I think I need to forget about the whole idea and just stick to more direct ways of extolling the virtues of the things I’m enthusiastic about.

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