Time to Upgrade…?

Yesterday I had coffee with my colleague Adam and we got to talking about people upgrades. Not software upgrades, mind you, but something similar.
We all get software upgrades every year or so. We see a new version of it that has just come out and we need it for a variety of reasons. It may be because it has a whole new set of features. Maybe it calculates faster and better. Maybe it does more things that you need done. Maybe it won’t work with the new version of Windows or Mac OS and if you don’t upgrade, you’re screwed.
Adam tells me about women in NYC who regularly upgrade their men. They acquire a man because this man has a set of features they need or want. Maybe lots of money, maybe good looks, maybe connections, maybe all of the above. Then, when they meet a man with better features, they upgrade. They uninstall you from their minds and hearts and start up with the new man. This man has better features, better looks, better bank account, better connections, better social status – some or all of the above or more – until they meet an even better man. Off to the Add/Remove Programs icon in their brains and they uninstall you like the outdated version 2.0 that you are. Version 3.0 is out and it’s time for the bigger and better piece of man-ware. That is, until they find 4.0…
But is bigger and better truly better? I remember when Microsoft Word was a few hundred Kbytes and was very fast and svelte and allowed me to write documents, format them, make them look fairly pretty, and print them. Today, Microsoft Word is a hundreds of megabytes monstrosity with way too many items in its menus, takes up way too much hard drive space, does way too many things that I don’t need. I still open it up and just write my fax or letter and then print it. Sometimes it’s too easy to keep adding features as a panacea for a better product. You just keep adding more features and menu items until pretty soon the product is just a confusing mess when all you really need it do is write letters and print them.
Perhaps upgrading isn’t the answer. Isn’t it the same with people when it’s really the basics that matter?