I visited my ski boot fitter yesterday and he reminded me how silly we can all be as consumers – even when we think we’re being well-informed and rational.
As you read this, substitute “turntable”, “interconnect”, “amplifier”, or “speakers” and the same principle applies.
My visit was a case of the tables being reversed – with me playing the role of consumer and him the expert. This fellow is a thought leader in the field of ski boot development and he travels to Italy in the Spring to work with one of the major Italian boot manufacturers (Technica). I trust his expertise.
The advice he gives me is parallel to the advice I give my clients – to consider your requirements, and not fall in love with a product that doesn’t solve any problems for you.
I like to think of myself as well-informed – having worked in ski shops while in college, and having taught skiing. I also like to think of myself as being rational. Still, I’m as subject to “retail therapy” as the next fellow.
For those skiers out there, this was prompted by my considering a new ski binding.
The main area I ski at is opening up some additional “hike-back” terrain – runs where you have to do a bit of touring to get back to the lift. Since some skiers can be lazy, this section of the mountain sees less traffic, and fresh powder can be had after other sections of the mountain become packed out. Alpine touring bindings help you get back to the lift.
For my new skis this year, I was considering an alpine touring conversion of a highly regarded alpine binding (Look Pivot-18) . It’s an elegant solution, designed for big, fast, charging skiers (the sort who “huck” 40 foot cliffs). Now, 40 foot cliffs does not describe me, but the design elegance caught my attention.
I viewed these bindings as having a durability advantage for me. Alpine touring bindings are considered by many to be too fragile for resort use. Now, I’ve used alpine touring bindings in the ski area for quite a few years, and they’ve become quite a bit more robust since that time.
In other words, I was trying to solve a problem that didn’t exist for me.
It gets worse …
The problem with these bindings is that there’s very little safety margin for my weight and skiing style. Those 40 foot cliff guys would never dream of setting their bindings as “softly” as I set mine. Still, I was seriously considering a product that for me had potential safety implications because I was so enamored of this elegant design.
How rational is that? How often are we trying to solve a non-existent problem? Fortunately, my boot fitter talked me down off the ledge.
The takeaway for me (as always) is to (1) listen to your inner voice which is always right, and (2) to find a trusted expert who can guide you through the quagmire.
Does this sound like audio? I’m about to start a series that addresses how we define ourselves as audiophiles, and how we can find gear that works for us.
Stay tuned for more …