This is a great editor. It is almost a universal standard amongst all UNIX systems. Its rare that you can telnet to a machine, and not find vi sitting waiting to please. Its a small program (it isn't a 20 meg install like another text editor I know), loads instantly, and allows the user instant access to any functionality that they could possibly want out of a text editor.
Granted Emacs undisputibly has more functionality, and scriptibility, etc. But really, one would expect this of a text editor which has its own lisp interpreter (for crying out loud). Which I don't mean to bash, because I'm sure its great.
There is a good reason why vi uses "cryptic" keys to do things, like the "hjkl" keys acting as the arrow keys, or "$" acting as the "End" button, and "^" as the "Home" button. This is because, all terminals aren't created equal, so when you telnet to a remote system, you may or may not have use of your arrow keys. If this is the case then using pico, or some other editor that uses arrow keys, will cause you no end of grief. But I'll bet you $4 that the keys "hjkl" will still work. As will all the other vi commands.
Also, you can have people who have yet to learn vi watch you do simple things in vi (which are imposible in many editors) and they will inevitably scream "Good gravity! This man is a Jedi!" to which I think the proper response should be "Yes my son, a vi Jedi."
People who don't know how to use vi often don't want to learn it because of the learning curve. But really, if you're a programmer, then you learn languages in a night, and methodologies in a week, your whole friggin existance is learning new technologies and tools. So learning vi is really a very small task that is worth the effort.
Don't let people who are wroght with cognitive dissonance and who bash vi because they don't want to learn it, talk you out of using it. Its a skill UNIX users/admins need to have.