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CHANGE CONSPIRACY: The Microsoft Effect

February 27th, 2010 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, is there a change conspiracy afoot? It seems that every day the world greets me with another wave of change leaving me no choice but to reinvent my comfortable, little corner of the world.

Is our world really surging onward in every shortening cycles of renewal? Or is there an evil mastermind behind it all dreaming up senseless change after change to keep us all dancing to his fiddle tune?

The software industry – Microsoft in particular – are the overlords of this change conspiracy. They employ armies of people most of whom are foot soldiers in the perpetual change machine.

The association I work for recently upgraded to a newer version of Microsoft Office which has a host of sparking, new features. There is just one problem. Average Joe Users like me only use a small percentage of the program’s functionality. We don’t need and don’t want all these snazzy, new features. As far as we’re concerned, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Okay, you say, so just go on using the features you’ve used before. Ah, but there is the problem. The new version of Excel, for example, doesn’t have just a few new bells and whistles. The entire interface has been changed! Nothing is where it used to be. I have to relearn the entire program just to do the same old things. This is the change conspiracy at work!

Evidence of the change conspiracy is everywhere. The grocery store chain I shop at recently re-branded itself. Apparently that made it necessary to completely reconfigure the store. I used to know where everything was. Now I have to go search for all those items.

Where’s the benefit to me? It’s the same stuff but it seems putting it in a different place is supposed to make me want it more. Reality check time, retail gurus. All you’ve accomplished is to piss me off.

The packaged goods industry has its own spin on the change conspiracy. It spits out an endless stream of silly variations on established products.

The hair shampoo I buy now has versions for normal hair (medium and fresh), oily or fine hair (fine or thick ‘n full), dry hair, dandruff prone hair (dandruff control and dandruff dismissed – what the hell is the difference?), colour treated hair and 4 versions of the “For Men” formula. It gives me a headache trying to find the regular version. I used to be able to grab it without breaking my stride.

I dub this change conspiracy the Microsoft Effect. Remember, you heard it here first!

The Microsoft Effect is the re-branded metaphor of the Butterfly Effect. Microsoft reinvents a software program. This starts a ripple which spreads insidiously across the planet. Six months later a guy in Tokyo is scratching his head wondering why his breakfast cereal is suddenly on the other side of the store.

Yes, my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. But my change conspiracy theory has a grain of truth in it. Change is a part of life. I accept that. But we’ve allowed the change conspirators to infiltrate our everyday life and bombard us with purposeless change. I for one am tired of dancing to their tune.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel”. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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Tags:   · · · · · 30 Comments

30 responses so far ↓

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