Personal Productivity- which desktop OS is better for Leaders?

One long-standing debate amongst those of us with computers is that of “Mac vs PC.” While this usually starts as a friendly bit of banter, it can often become heated, and invariably ends up with someone also advocating for ChromeOS or Ubuntu or some other operating system for their computer.

The variety of operating systems that are available for a computer provided needed options for those of us who need something different. However, when one looks at computers merely through the lens of leadership, this is quickly decided. Here’s why:

Leaders need to have devices that enable them to do work, but without being overly complex or time-consuming in the set-up, maintenance, and management of the device. They should be ubiquitous, meaning that they should be able to share information easily with others. They should be fast and efficient, able to do most things really well. In short, your OS should be:
– Easy to use
– Fast
– Minimal maintenance
– Plays well with others
– Gets the job done.

Few leaders have need for niche products. Complexity is usually antithetical to simplicity and effectiveness. So unless you are in a profession that requires complexity, it is better not to go there. You should spend your time leading people, not fiddling with your computer.

When you look at it through the leadership lens, Ubuntu quickly fails this test. So, too, does Chrome, which plays well with others within the Google ecosystem, but does not do as well with anyone else. That leads us back to the Windows vs Mac argument.

It is true that Windows computers can do anything and everything. They are the undisputed winner in that arena. But, saying they can do anything doesn’t mean that they do it easily, or well. In my extensive work on Windows machines, I have found them to be very capable, with tons of features… but mostly these are features that 95% of people never use. That this leads to a level of complexity that really slows you down or gets in your way.

Mac computers can do 95% of what the PC computers can do, but they do it better. Interfaces are more obvious, more uniform across applications, and faster to use. Applications are designed with people who want simplicity and effectiveness as the yardstick. They work and play well with others. In Apple parlance, “they just work.”

This “it just works” philosophy is the reason why I recommend leaders seeking to buy a computer look at the Mac first. It really is the best for leaders.

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