Do you fall into the trap of judging things based on a preconception? Do you buy into stereotypes? I do. All the time.

I think it’s in our nature as humans to categorize life’s complexities based on our experiences: cables make a difference/cables can’t make a difference. Electrostats are transparent sounding/electrostats require your head in a vice. Tubes are sweet/tubes are distorted. Subwoofers have too much bass/systems without subwoofers are anemic. Ribbon drivers are quick/ribbon drivers haven’t the dynamics of cones.

Think you’re immune to these preconceived notions? WATCH THIS VIDEO of a TED talk from Sarah Jones. Really. Sarah portrays 11 different people and as she moves through each of her characters I swear I start assigning qualities I associate with that type of person to each of them. It’s uncanny and more than that, it’s unnerving. Sarah isn’t 11 different people, yet you would be hard-pressed not to assign 11 different judgments of her character—each dramatically different than the last.

Challenging our preconceived notions can be rewarding because they are often wrong. Not everyone or everything responds the same way. But, change is hard.

One of our best-known preconceptions concerns an oddity in our industry we refer to as snake oil. Right? Just the name itself immediately assigns doubt to any product, process, or system unlucky enough to garner the moniker.

I’ve put together a little video of my own on the subject, which you can WATCH HERE.

Paul McGowan / PS AUDIO