The KISS principle …

February 12, 2015

(regarding product lines that is) …

Was just reading an excellent article – a bit dated time-wise but the story never gets old …
http://techcrunch.com/2009/01/22/apples-success-solution-a-simple-product-line/

Why does this come to mind right now? Two recent personal issues have shown Apple’s direction to be the right one in my mind, and a lot of other organisations might take note.

1. The daughter’s phone was stolen. That in itself is traumatic enough for a 20-year-old, but dealing with the phone company on deciding a new plan made my blood boil.

2. My mother’s electricity provider. Mum asked me to look at her provider and make sure she was getting the best deal (she wants to change to another provider because my son works for that provider and she’d like to support him) – not the greatest of reasons but who am I to argue. So off to the electricity provider in question to look at what “deal” best suits.

So by now I’m ready to kill the first person who gives me a choice. Luckily I cook dinner in our house, because if my wife asked me whether I wanted x or y, I think I’d end up in goal.

The premise of the Techcrunch article is simple, even if a bit controversial. People want choice? Rubbish, and I 100% agree with that – people want a product that does most of the things they want very well, reliably and simply, and they will either put up with, gripe and whine, or just ignore the things that product does not do (ie they will make do). When I walk into a fast food vendor (any one, take your choice), I look at the board above the counter and just glaze over. Normally by the time I’ve absorbed the first set of choices, some clever electronic screen has rolled over to a completely new set of choices – so I end up ignoring the whole thing and buying what I normally buy because I just can’t be bothered trying to work it all out.

I get where the phone and electricity companies are coming from … they want to use the FUD principle (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) to make you spend more than you actually need to or should – they are experts at extortion (they like to call it customer service but in reality it’s extortion). But what about everyone else? What about Adaptec? We have an awful lot of products – with the aim of course to make a product for every conceivable niche market we can sell in to.But do people really want such a range? In my experience, no, but as you can tell I don’t make the product marketing decisions around here.

When I go food shopping (which I do regularly), I can go to the supermarket that has 47-different kinds of preserves, or I can go to the German-owned worldwide organisation that has 1 type of strawberry jam – yes folks, there is only one of everything. You guessed it, I spend my life in the simple supermarket because it makes my life a whole lot easier. I prefer the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) nearly every time.

So let me know your thoughts … do you really need such a large product range from any organisation that you deal with? Or are you like me when I’m asked whether I want a cup of coffee or tea? … “Yes please” does it every time :-).

Wonder if this one will get published.

Ciao
N

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