"Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to."

In Dan Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, he writes: “Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to.” I found this incredibly profound as I thought about how often I’ll hear from my clients and other association executives, “The software should function like this, because that’s how we do it, and that’s how every association does it.”

That statement makes perfect sense when considered thought Gilbert’s claim; none us can know exactly what others have experienced. And so it’s important to keep that in mind when we make sweeping generalizations about how things should be done.

I have very strong opinions about how things should be done, and will argue my point when necessary. But I never assume that my opinions are the end-all, be-all. And in cases of anything other than moral or ethical imperatives, I’m willing to change my position.

We should all keep that in mind, especially when it comes to data management and your business rules. Just because you do it that way doesn’t mean anyone else does.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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