The embarrassment of concession

There’s this guy that I’ve had a fairly hard time working with, for a whole set of reasons that are unimportant here, and on this one thing (see, this is why writing about work sucks) he took the position that one thing was going to turn out to be important to how user testing went, and I just didn’t see it. So we started showing the widget to users today, and he was totally right — the users would be going along, see real-looking fake data and screech to a halt: I know that hotel’s not there… that’s not how much that room costs. Totally took them out of using the widget. I’d figured if you’re testing a piece of functionality, it wouldn’t much matter if it said “fake hotel A” or whatever, as long as they could turn the dial back and forth and talk about using the dial. I wonder, as I type this, if that might not be true — if you either have to present plausible data if you make it look real or you have to go all the way and make it obvious it’s fake so they shouldn’t expect anything.


When I had the chance, I conceeded the point. I said “you were absolutely right, when they see this stuff… blah blah blah…” and that was it. I didn’t get a reaction at all. I don’t know if he didn’t know what I was talking about, or thought it was natural that he’d be right, or didn’t hear me… Doesn’t matter.

So here’s what bugs me: now I’m embarrassed. I went out of my way to concede a point, and for what? I feel like instead of making a good-natured overture I now look like I was kissing up or something.

And now I’m mad it even bugged me. Soon I’ll be frustrated I spent that much energy on it. And then I’ll go biking or something and feel fine about the whole thing.