If Customers Ask for More Choice, Don’t Listen

Customers are Ignoring You
Customers are Ignoring You (Photo credit: ronploof)


Perhaps the reason that Apple is ahead with the iPod, iPhone and iPad is that the competitors are offering too much choice.

That being said, ‘competitive advantage’ can lead to paralysis.

In the auto world, each badge, each product line has an ‘advantage’.
But what many customers want is a blend.

Suppose you had

  • the hydropnumatic suspension of Citroen
  • the crash survivability of Volvo
  •  the fantastic new six speed high efficiency automatic gearbox that Chrysler is soon to release
  •  the BOSE sound system of a BMW
  •  the capacity of a Dodge minivan
  •  the fuel efficiency of a Prius
  •  the twin camera automatic following/crash avoidance system of a Subaru

all rolled into one ….

The problem is that you can’t.

For a while, the IBM-style PC chassis offered that kind of ‘blend’.
As the saying went …

Be very glad that your PC is insecure –it means that after you buy it,
you can break into it and install whatever software you want. What YOU
want, not what [content providers] want.
— John Gilmore of the EFF

But the majority of consumers are the “lemmings”. In reality its like the stage magician fanning a pack of cards and saying “pick a card, any card you want”. You don’t really have freedom of choice, you can only pick what’s offered to you, by the stage magician or the vendor.

And sometimes the constraint of choice, as Apple is doing, says “focus, focus, focus” and play to the Big Brother Knows What’s Best For You.
Sometimes it nice not to be stressed by having to make decisions, decisions that might not be optimal (even if the optimization curve is flat and the risk/return ratio is close to zero).


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Security Evangelist

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