This afternoon, I left the house for the first time in a while and drove to the coffee shop. On the way, I tried to listen to All Things Considered on the radio. Within one minute, I got sick of it and instead listened to the Ruby Conf Wrapup episode of the Ruby on Rails podcast. The sound quality of it was dicey, but listenable. That’s right, I turned off a well-produced show in favor of one with shitty production values. Why would I do this? Because I was more interested in hearing these two guys talk about their views of Ruby Conf and the politics of programming language extension and “fanboy” impulses at meeting famous figures in the open source community. I’m newly interested in Ruby and Rails, and I was captivated. There are not 1 in 10,000 Americans who would find this interesting, but I am one.
Production quality isn’t unimportant, but it’s not a make or break. Once you cross the threshold of barely listenable, captivating content of interest to you is all that matters. I just disagree with Stephen Hill so deeply that it makes my bones ache. This isn’t some kind of academic argument or thought experiment, this is how I live my life. I vote with my ears every single day and I’ve been turning off public radio, for all its slickness and production values, because it is physically incapable of being as relevant to me as the playlist on my iPod Shuffle.