Developer Teams vs. Sports Teams
There is no shortage of those among us that vicariously enjoy the challenges and triumphs of others. How we go about identifying ourselves with one person, or group is a matter of personal preference. A great example of this phenomenon is sports teams.
All manner of fans both young and old cheer their teams to victory. For the more tech/geek centric crowd the sports teams and allstars are displaced by CEOs, developers, scientists, startups and super corporations. But the vicarious, triumphant feeling of success is shared in much the same manner. Instead of wearing a star players jersey, we actively use a companies product and wildly promote it's utility. We discover new ways to use our favorite developer teams products and add value to their service. Recently I have fallen under the seductive spell of social media with Twitter and Friendfeed. I do my best to evangelize these products while looking for methods to connect these businesses to personalized search and advertising.
Regardless of the source or fan, there is a great discontinuity when the fan desires something that the team or business has no interest in providing. Afterall any product be it entertainment, or a social communication service cannot be all things to all people. They must cater to their average user. Or do they?
Personalization and customization are not only feasible for large scale software companies, it's becoming the new norm. From iPhone apps to blog plugins, to style templates of imbedded scripts we have a growing number of options when it comes to cozying up our virtual hangouts. Sorry sports fans, unfortunately you can't modify your favorite teams jerseys yet, but digitally perhaps someday you will be able to.
We should remember that no matter how wildly successful our chosen teams or developer teams are, their achievements are not our own. If your local team wins the championship or has zero wins for an entire season, their victory or losses have little long term affect on you. No matter how much an early adopter praises, markets, or adds value to a business he will not share in their financial success or failure. Unless we make a business deal with someone in charge of an organization, our vicarious motivations are purely for our own sense of satisfaction. And that's just the way we like it.