As the song says “War! What is it good for?”.  Well, maybe not absolutely nothing, but it is definitely a distraction.  Whether we are talking about Apple vs. Microsoft, C++ vs. Java vs. .NET, Lotus Notes vs. Microsoft Exchange, Nikon vs. Canon, Cubs vs. White Sox or Bears vs. Packers our world is filled with fan boys ready to go to battle.  Just cheering for your favorite isn’t a problem.  It is when you have a driving need to put the other guy down and prove that you are behind the winner.  Let’s take a look at a few thoughts around these conflicts.

The first thing people have to remember is that every tool has its place.  Every product has its strengths and weaknesses.  One of the best examples of this is when people ask me which camera they should buy.  The first question is what they want to do with it.  The second is how much do you want to pay.  You don’t need the professional model if you are just taking snapshots. 

Discussions of the differences between products can be productive.  There are so many technologies being pushed out so fast that no one can follow them all.  Divide and conquer is the only way to get through it all.  Cooperation and spirited competition get us a lot further than put downs.

Of course I think part of the reason we do this is that we as IT people love to take jabs at each other.  It isn’t about which is better.  It is about pushing someone else’s buttons.  I have to admit this is a fun sport.

In the end I would say as long as it is friendly and not a consuming pursuit then championing our favorite technologies and hearing the reason why others stand behind their favorites can be profitable.  Just make sure you stop before the mud starts flying.