Stories from my Past: Laptops are a luxury

laptop cat comic

I worked at one company where many of the executives had laptops. As an IT person in almost every company, you also get a laptop. I think the idea is that with a laptop you can work from home if necessary and fix any problem that happens. So it surprised me when I started and I received a desktop.

laptop cat comic
laptop cat comic

I asked my manager why I received a desktop instead of a laptop. Didn’t they want me to fix things from home? His answer surprised me. He said, “Well executives have laptops, and laptops are a luxury, not a necessity.”

That answer didn’t make sense to me then and it still doesn’t. If the network is down, or someone needs help, not having your IT staff have a computer at home doesn’t help anyone. Even the cheapest laptop will do the job.

Why am I bringing this up now? I find it interesting that the perception of laptops has changed over the years. Laptops used to be just for the VIPS in a company and then slowly they started filtering down to the common man. Now most companies prefer giving someone a laptop so that they will work when they aren’t in the office. I have seen this firsthand. With a laptop, people don’t have an excuse not to work from home, so it becomes easily justifiable. Plus with the ridiculously low cost of laptops, the argument can be made that they are better than desktops anyway.

Yes, yes, desktops are cheaper than laptops. The price isn’t really worth it, however. When you have a laptop you have the freedom to make sales, travel, and have a life. I predict that desktops will go away. As components get cheaper and easier, there just won’t be any compelling reason to have a stationary computer. For example, laptops now are coming standard without any fans and with really long battery life. For most people, laptops are not a compromise of a desktop anymore. They can do everything a desktop can and more. So why would you want to be tied to a desk to use one?

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I think this is also going to happen because of millennials. They care about experiences and quality of life and demand things like standing desks and so on. I think that laptops will be driven by them, and only older people will not care and their conception of a computer means being tied to a desk. I think the change to laptops is as much psychological as technological.

Most people who have freedom with a laptop never want to be tied to a desktop again. Now, this isn’t an economic choice, but a personal one.