There was a very thought-provoking post by Seth Godin a few days ago, titled “But how much does it cost?”.
“Cost” not in terms of the price tag, but in terms of the overall price we have to pay: Cost of acquisition, maintenance, repair, training, usage, replacement. Total cost of ownership, if you so want.
Seth makes a very good point there: All too often, we don’t consider the real cost of our decisions. We only see the short-term price tag, or rather: the price tag we want to believe shows the true short-term cost. Forcing yourself to take a broader outlook and consider the total cost over time, to us and to others, is a good thing to do.
So yeah, Seth, I fully agree with you, (and I highly recommend everybody reads your post!), but then…
There are certain things that you just have to do because they’re the right thing for you to do at that point, no matter the overall cost. If you don’t keep that in mind, you’ll just turn into a nitpicking bureaucrat.