Some people like to do things for themselves. It may not necessarily have to do with the potential money that they save, but that could be a part of it. My neighbor, for example, seems to really enjoy gardening. I see him out there almost every day (she's retired), tending to all of her different flowers and things. She has all sorts of different tools, she has the proper gardening gloves, and I'm sure she spends not an insignificant amount of money on seeds, fertilizer and all the rest of it.
She could probably hire someone to do all of that for her and it's possible that hiring someone may even work out cheaper in some cases, but that's not really the point. She's doing all of this gardening stuff, because it's her hobby. It makes her happy. She derives a certain level of enjoyment and fulfillment from it. So, why am I talking about my gardening neighbor on a website about computers.
It's All About Do It Yourself (DIY)
It used to be that only a select handful of people had the skills and expertise to do certain things. I'm not taking anything away from professionals who work in their current fields today, but the DIY market has become far more accessible clear across the board. Go back 10 or 15 years and there weren't that many people who were building their own computers, but thanks to the wonders of the Internet and the wide accessibility of information, many people can very quickly learn how to do it. And even if they're not prepared to build their own DIY computer, they can quickly learn how to replace a hard drive or upgrade the RAM.
This wasn't really the case in the early days, because many people were too afraid to tinker with technology. They were too afraid to kill the flowers in their garden, so to speak, but if you want to build or upgrade your own computer now, it's far easier. The screenshot above, for example, is from a video that our very own Stephen Fung posted on building the BitFenix Prodigy demo rig for LANcouver 2013. He walks you through, step by step, on everything that he did to get that PC up and running.
And you'll find similar videos and tutorials across just about every niche and every hobby on YouTube or many other places online.
Much to the chagrin of some of my contemporaries, I recently published a blog post on my site about why I prefer console games. Yes, I know. I know. One of the reasons that I cited was that I want my games to just work. I don't want to tinker with settings. I want to insert the disc, press start, and have a nice day.
I Want it to Just Work
The traditional school of thought for PC gaming would align with this kind of differentiation. It used to be that you did indeed have to tinker with the settings to get the best gaming experience on your computer and you had to worry about hardware compatibility and the rest of it. However, this is becoming less and less the case. While you could still take the manual method, there are tools and utilities that can help do this for you. You'll find tools that automatically "optimize" the settings to fit your hardware, like NVIDIA's GeForce Experience, just as there are utilities that will let you overclock or otherwise boost the performance of your rig without any manual tinkering on your part.
The same thing can be said about so many other things that we do these days. Back in the day, if you wanted to set up your own website (let alone set up your own blog or e-commerce store), you likely had to dive knee-deep into complex raw code. These days, you can use a platform like WordPress, install a few plug-ins, and get everything working in a matter of minutes. And if you want to get the word out about your new website, there are services that make content marketing, email marketing and social media marketing as easy as riding a bike. They have templates and easy-to-understand user interfaces that are far more accessible than what we had only a few years ago.
With these kinds of turnkey solutions, you would assume that the market for things that "just work" will continue to grow. That's partly true. We see that with devices like the iPad, but you see just as many people "jailbreaking" and "rooting" their mobile devices, loading custom ROMs and totally personalizing these "turnkey" devices to suit their specific needs. DIY is very much alive and well; it just takes on many different forms.
And that's really the TL;DR answer to today's post. There is still value in hiring a professional for certain tasks and projects, but thanks to the wealth of turnkey solutions and the range of online tutorials, DIY just about anything is within reach for the average Joe or Jane.