The myth of "better"

Shawshank Redemption claims the #1 top movie spot on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

Of its over 2.5 million ratings, 1,302,081 people give this film a perfect 10/10. In their eyes, this film could not be better. On the other hand, 34,818 people felt this “top film” is nothing more than a 1/10 (a cinematic failure).

Interestingly, 45% of people rating this chart-topper gave it a rating under 10; in other words, almost half of the ratings came from people who thought this objective masterpiece (my words) could be better. So, it makes me wonder...

If it was better for the 4s, 5s, or 6s, would it automatically be better for the current 10s? Or would “better” make it worse in their eyes? Is there a way to make this film universally better and appease everyone? Can all 2.5 million people give this film a perfect score? Of course not.

When we're making something better for one group, we might be making it worse for another. It's not because 45% of the world are idiots and others are not. It's because "better" is subjective. And the user defines better.

The myth of better goes something like this: my better is always your better.

Give up the idea that better applies to all, pick an audience, understand what they want/need/love, and create for them.

Better has one essential question: For whom?

| Photo by Alice Dietrich