Originally Posted by PCP
Jeff, probably because we work making other people dreams come true that gives us a bigger flexibility in what regards personal life style and taste.
Related with taste and quality versus life style another example: for many years I read the German architectural magazine Hauser (that has great pictures) and used to comment what I liked more with my wife. I soon find out that while I was admiring quality, style and design, not having necessarily to do with what I would like to have for living, my wife was incapable to separate what was pure quality and a great design from what she would like to have for living, meaning that she could only like what suited her.
I believe this happens to many in what regards sailboats: Most can only like and appreciate what is fit for his lifestyle independently to be a great design. If it is not suited to him but only to other type of cruisers or sailors, then it is a bad design.
I don't know if the fact that being used to work satisfying other peoples dreams (that are very different) has to do with the fact that I like many types of boats, and among each type I can appreciate the ones that are truly outstanding, even if they not suit my living and sailing style, I suspect that it has.
I think that you have hit the nail on the head. A big part of designing anything is defining in an intellectually honest way a clear understanding of the problems to be solved, and a big part of that definition requires the designer to 'get into the head' of the person we are designing for. Often this is a high wire balancing act without a net because the client's head and heart want something which may be mutually exclusive, or which is mutually exclusive with the solution suggested by 'best professional judgement'.
Selecting the right boat, also involves that kind of understanding of the problem and an intellectually honest approach to the solution. All to often we see people proudly parading about in their 'King's new clothes", when the rest of the world can clearly see the nakedness of thier position.
In the end, it's still Goldilocks, "Ah, just right" or as my grandmother would say when asked about decisions that she did not like, "As long as you are happy."