I had an interesting conversation with an acquaintance the other day, someone who I’m on nodding terms with, but don’t actually know at all.
I mentioned that one of the things I was planning to get a new laptop for my son. His immediate response was to tell me that I should get a Mac. In fact it went beyond that to the point where he told me that I should get a Mac, an iPhone and an iPad and that I would be crazy to buy or use anything but Apple products.
Without knowing anything about me or my son’s needs for a laptop.
The fact that he was pushing Apple isn’t key to this story, it would be just as relevant if he’d have been telling me to buy Windows or Android or even Ubuntu.
This sort of experience based advice is of very little value when you’re looking to buy something for your own needs because there is never going to be a true correlation between you uses and needs.
I have no doubt that my acquaintance is very happy with his Apple equipment and it serves his purpose well. More power to his elbow. In this instance I knew that an Apple laptop wasn’t going to fit the bill for a whole variety of reasons relating to what my son wanted and needed; as well as the demands of his schoolwork. I know this because I took the time to do some research before deciding what tool was appropriate for the job.
It helps that I also own and use the full Apple, Microsoft, Google and Ubuntu software / hardware stack on a regular basis and know what each can and can’t do.
There are many people who will give you inappropriate advice (not just about computers either). some experts call it false authority syndrome. A person who feels able to give advice on a subject, based on limited knowledge, hearsay and without any data to base those assertions on. They can be dangerous, especially in business where they can influence company policies based on no evidence at all.
So the next time you received unrequested advice from a person without any proven expertise in the subject under discussion I suggest you nod wisely and ignore every word.