Whatever you think is basic, it’s only basic to you

All the hairdressers I know cringe when they hear about my hair care routine. It’s rather non-existent: I wash my hair, apply a conditioner, brush it for 5 minutes, and that’s pretty much it. When it’s windy I might tie it up in a loose side braid so it doesn’t get all tangled up. I don’t even use a dryer unless it’s freezing outside.

This is as simple as a hair care routine can get, but it works for me. I’m happy about how my hair looks when I leave it alone, and so I leave it alone for the most of the time. It’s fun to have some fancy magic on my head every once in a while, hence the occasional hairdresser visits, but I don’t really care about hair styling on most days.

This is quite difficult for hairdressers to grasp. Okay, maybe you don’t style your hair every day, and I can see you don’t dye it, but sure you get your split ends trimmed sometimes, and apply some oils, masks, or vitamin treatments? Then comes a long list of basic-must-haves, obvious dos and don’ts, and recommendations I know I’m never going to follow. Until taking care of my hair is a full-time job of mine, I’ll only dedicate this much attention to it. Hint: not very much.

It feels completely unnecessary, until I think about my own full-time job

There’s a lot of things at work that seem like very basic stuff that every rational person would do. When someone does the opposite, it makes me cringe, even if I know I can’t reasonably expect them to care this much about it. What do you mean you don’t have a test site to try new plugin updates there first? Your developer said updating a plugin can break your website? You’d better find a new developer cause this one obviously doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

I don’t think developers should tell their clients to never update their online shops. Security breaches are real, and whenever one is discovered, all past software versions will be vulnerable to it. When dealing with other people’s money, you’d better make sure the money ends up on your own account and not one of some random hacker.

Still, when I put myself in the shoes of someone who sells used car parts for a living, or runs a golf club and sells memberships online, or has a beauty salon, the developer advice to never update things by myself actually makes a lot of sense. If I’m a business owner, the most important thing for me is to keep the business running. I don’t have the time and expertise to create a test copy of a whole site and patiently test everything there. My choice is between taking 10 minutes to update the actual thing that makes me money, with the risk that something goes wrong and I won’t be able to make money anymore, or not updating it at all. Given a choice like this, I’d probably put it off or hire a developer, which they might have been hoping for when giving such advice.

Everything is basic and obvious as long as it’s the main thing that you do

And everything is silly and unnecessary as long as it’s not. My persuading customers about why they need a staging site is probably as effective as my hairdresser’s explanations of why I should use a vitamin mask. If it’s not a burning pain for me right now, and I have other burning pains to cater to, it’s only natural I will take care of these these first.

It’s natural to assume the thing you specialize in is the most important one that everyone should care about. Once you realize this, you might be able to put aside your expectations of how things should work in a perfect world, and meet the other human being with needs and priorities that are quite different from your own. Your expertise will be much needed to create a solution that meets them where they are and caters to their specific needs. This is why you’re a professional after all.

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