22 August 2012

Different levels of emotion

Last week I replaced both my car and my computer (actually still waiting on my new computer... but that's another story). In the weeks prior to this change I began noticing different levels of emotional attachment with these products.

- I didn't really want to change either one (end of lease for one... replacement cycle at work for the other one). Although I noticed a decline in performance for both and I found myself wondering about their long-term dependability (particularly with the laptop) I still hated the idea that their life cycles had come to an end.
- I knew that I was going to miss both. They had been very dependable products and had helped me in doing a lot of important things.

- Returning my car made me very sad. I had a hard time letting it go. I realized how much it had done for me and my family: taking us places, helping us moving, carrying my sleeping kids in the back seat, etc. I realized how intense and personal my connection with my car was. The night after I returned the car I actually found myself thinking of it being alone at this random parking lot... wondering how its new owner would be like.

- Retuning my laptop was nowhere near as personal. It was a very dry, emotionless transaction. Although that machine also helped me with so many things (working, planning trips, connecting with the world, watching movies, listening to music, etc.) I didn't have as strong of a connection to it. I realized that in my case the common notion of "I love my Mac" is not about the device itself... it's more about the "Mac experience", meaning the user interface, performance, etc.

This contrast in emotional connection has kept me thinking for days... trying to figure out the core differences between these two products (and other products for that matter). Do you have any similar stories or insights on why a car and a computer create such different connections with their users?