I’m going to give an example of something I see in part of the tech community that I also see in other communities, such as spectators for sports or politics. The common thread is people who really care about the thing they follow, whether it be a company, a team, or a person. My example is about Apple and the passionate folk who want to give Apple advice.

Take a designer on Twitter saying that Apple needs to do something different with their design of iOS. Her assertion is that Apple is not showing that they are at the forefront of design with what they’re doing now. They risk falling behind and becoming obsolete.

Or take a software developer on a podcast that states that Apple software is really buggy and they need to spend more time on quality control. Otherwise they risk alienating their customers who will get tired of the bugs.

Each of these narratives is different but I think they come from the same place. Where is that? Fear.

The designer and developer are afraid that Apple will lose its edge and won’t have the cool technologies and ecosystem for them to work on. Or Apple will become irrelevant or fail as a company and they don’t want that because they love the company. The root of the fear is a lack of trust that the folks at Apple know what they are doing. These outsiders want to feel like they’re doing something – that they are contributing – so they do so by complaining.

Is it a good thing that they complain? It is productive in the cliche “squeaky wheel” way? I don’t know. Personally, I want Apple to have their vision for the future that doesn’t rely upon outsiders complaining. Of course there needs to be a balance between getting outside input and sticking with your vision but I think that balance should be heavily weighted towards the vision.