Piggybacking my earlier entry, I wanted to comment on Dave's recent post to BloggerCon (which, by the way, Ponzi and I will be attending in a few weeks). “Should journalists listen to their customers?” Yes and no.
I agree, insofar as one should always be open to constructive feedback and guidance. I disagree, because it's very dangerous to let anybody command your style – or to assume that they know what's best for you to do. While I'm enthusiastic about listening to those who support my efforts, I also know that I have a different set of “hidden” stressors that aren't necessarily apparent. When I was hosting a cable television show, viewers were not aware that I had to listen to producers, their producers, and the producers who produce the producer's producers. If I had a nickel for every time someone said to me: “You know what you should do…?” I'd be richer than Paul Allen. And if I had a penny for every time our mission changed… move over, Bill Gates.
“Should programmers listen to their users?” I'm not a programmer, but as a user, I've been told countless times that I don't understand the cycle. I've provided feedback to dozens of code dreamers in the hopes that their next revision would be better than ever, but I'm also cognizant that I do NOT know what they have to go through to bring my ideas to life. The programmer ultimately knows best – for his or her situation, which extends well past the end of my nose. Everybody should listen. However, we need to recognize that “originators” must listen to more than just one person / perspective – and just because a “creator” doesn't agree with or follow their [the consumer's] advice, doesn't mean that they weren't listening. You hear me on this?