In an episode of Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope is planning a birthday party for her boss, Ron Swanson. Ron, the solitude-loving carpenter is dreading this event that the obnoxiously cheerful Leslie is putting together. As they enter the room where Leslie set up the party, Ron recoils and then says, “Ann said you had a big party. Sombreros, karaoke…” Leslie replies,
“I did that for Ann. Why would I throw Ron Swanson an Ann Perkins party?”
Leslie has set up a steak dinner with a plate of bacon and fancy scotch in a quiet room with a couple of rented war dramas. As Leslie explains what she has prepared, Ron mutters a rare, “Thank you.”
Think of the difference between receiving a gift that the giver would have gotten for themselves but makes no sense for you and receiving a gift that shows the person knows you and what makes you happy. A good user experience is like a good gift.
This is where the golden rule falls short. Even if you are Ann Perkins, not everyone wants an Ann Perkins party.