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April 14, 2009

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Could not agree more.

We're seeing this everywhere - media, technology and so on. News, too. What fascinates me about this is that the market has in many ways been an inefficient driver to what customers actually want. Simplicity is a good example - used to blog about this all the time - almost *everything* should be simpler. Customers would buy more. Eg many ppl are satisfied with Google News' 2 line extract for their news, and don't need full AP feed. Even TV news is more than they need.

Economics of abundance. As features and content become cheap and abundant, the new scarcity is the consumer/user's attention. Or, in your case: your cousin's jacket pocket space.

It also cuts both ways. "But our product is superior, we've spent generations perfecting it" often chime the voices of the established incumbents, but the problem is the disruptive entrant's technology is "good enough" for most people's needs, and perhaps much cheaper (or free) to produce, and improving in quality at a much faster rate.

I think it's the 80/20 rule. 80% of the people use 20% of the features. From first hand experience, it seems most people who are happy with a point'n'shoot (for various reasons, size being a big one) simply don't care about the added features and quality of SLRs (or higher end products).

I've shown my wife dozens of SLR photos that have been post-processed, in comparison with point'n'shoot versions of the same events. To me the difference is staggering.

However, I get the same response every time: No, you cannot buy an SLR.

Used to maintain a blog called "Good Enough" at goodenov.blogspot.com but fell out of the habit. Anyway, the premise was that many things are "good enough" when you consider function, price, and convenience together. What's good enough for one might not be for another (phone for casual photos, but not professional work... )

It's particularly evident in today's economy: people hold onto an old car because it's good enough to get them to work and back, providing necessary function at a lower cost.

Rick,
So true and it's been happening for a long time. In the mid-1980's when the CD standard came out, audiophiles weren't impressed as it represented a lowering of audio quality, even though for most it was a vast improvement. And, eventually, it almost killed the high end audio market with brands like Linn, Tangent, Naim, Oracle, Bryston, etc.

So, I guess that sometimes the long tail is too long to make a viable market, particularly for manufactured goods.

Randall

We watch compressed video with artifacts instead of film. Same with audio.

We gladly talk on 'good enough' cell phones, voip instead of landlines.

We gladly use intermittent Internet via mobile wireless instead of plugging into the cat5.

Give a little quality and gain at lot of convenience. If the technology curve levels off people will start to expect better quality - once that happens there will be a new market for business who offer not new products - but better products.

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