My Perspective on Tech

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

While BirchTree is not my day job1, it did play a central role in me getting my current job. I work at an ecommerce company2 and my job involves:

  • Designing user interfaces for new features
  • Collecting user experience data
  • Refining existing interfaces based on user feedback
  • Working with developers directly as features are built
  • Performing user acceptance testing
  • General product management

I am a huge fan of the products we provide as a company, and the quality of work we do is quite impressive. I’m proud to work on these products.

But I would not be good at my job if every time someone told me something was wrong I replied “well, this has to be like that because X, Y, and Z,” I’d be out of a job. Likewise, if I saw what our direct and even not-quite-direct competitors were doing and said “none of that matters because we’re doing our own thing,” then we would be declining in influence. Finally, if multiple people brought up usability concerns and I dismissed them by saying “you’re doing it wrong” or “you don’t get it, man,” then I would again be out of a job.

I love the products, but I accept user feedback and am openly critical of things we could be doing better.

That’s how I try to talk about technology on BirchTree as well3. When I’m critical of a product, it’s not because I enjoy bashing things, it’s because I care about it and want it to improve. You’ll notice I don’t tend to have reviews about things I outright hate on the site. I could write a review about the Amazon Dash Wand, but I didn’t because it’s a terrible product for me and I have no interest in it improving. I try to write about things I love, or have the potential to love if they improved.

This is especially true of Apple, whose products I have a special affinity towards. I’ve gotten some heat lately with discussions around the HomePod. I’ve been told I’m too critical and I just don’t “get” what Apple is doing. I was actually told all of the quotes from 3 paragraphs up on Twitter about my critiques of the HomePod4. There is room out there for commentary on Apple that is focused around extending Apple’s messaging, and that’s fine: Apple is a company that is misunderstood by many people, so this can be a service at times. But I have no interest in being a voice like that, nor do I have any interest in reading that commentary on a regular basis.

You may, and that’s fine as well. I will continue to try and write interesting opinions about the tech that I love (and want to love). The internet is a vast place and you can choose what you consume, and while you may not always agree with me, I hope you can enjoy all I know how to do: loving things, being critical of those things, and looking forward to see how they can improve.

  1. Although every donation and share on Twitter and Facebook helps get me closer to that goal. 
  2. That’s as specific as I’m going to get here. 
  3. Twitter too, for that matter. 
  4. Links withheld because I’m not trying to call anyone out. Those aren’t direct quotes, so you shall not find them in a quick Twitter search ;)