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The Function of Dysfunction

Most of us have heard the comment that over-engineered products are bland. In other words, if something is too “perfect”, it lacks character.

We tend to like (and even love) other people and animals. People and animals are never perfect — while, machines can almost be “perfect”. The less perfect machines tend to have “character”, and their imperfections can actually draw us closer to them.

Do owners of Moto Guzzis get more passionate about their machines than owners of other, seamlessly engineered transportation tools? Typically, yes, and this has everything to do with the imperfections of the Moto Guzzi. Its vibration, its rocking motion, and other things about the machine that have nothing to do with its intended purpose, i.e., transportation.

Of course, machines that are overly imperfect (i.e., don’t function often enough) make us angry (another emotion). So, perhaps, the perfect machine combines imperfection with relatively reliable function.