Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Good Enough Is Great For Entrepeneurs

This month's Wired magazine has an excellent article on what they term the Good Enough Revolution. For the small business / entrepreneur, this is an absolute must read.

The article chronicles how various apparently technically inferior products are winning against their high end brethren. The Flip video camera being an excellent example:

After some trial and error, Pure Digital released what it called the Flip Ultra in 2007. The stripped-down camcorder—like the Single Use Digital Camera—had lots of downsides. It captured relatively low-quality 640 x 480 footage at a time when Sony, Panasonic, and Canon were launching camcorders capable of recording in 1080 hi-def. It had a minuscule viewing screen, no color-adjustment features, and only the most rudimentary controls. It didn't even have an optical zoom. But it was small (slightly bigger than a pack of smokes), inexpensive ($150, compared with $800 for a midpriced Sony), and so simple to operate—from recording to uploading—that pretty much anyone could figure it out in roughly 6.7 seconds.
Today—just two years later—the Flip Ultra and its subsequent revisions are the best-selling video cameras in the US

The article doesn't just discuss gadgets - military and health care applications are mentioned as well.

One of the key takeaways I had was that this lo-fi approach isn't merely about price. It's not that the Flip was cheap, and Canon's video cameras were expensive - it's that the Flip prioritized simplicity and accessibility above all else. Simplicity and accessibility don't happen by accident, they happen because a great amount of effort went into the design of the product. Still, that effort can be relatively inexpensive compared to cost of developing advanced feature, after advanced feature.

Take a close look at the space your business is in (or the business you want to be in): is there a simple and accessible solution out there yet? If not, why not be the one to create it? And if it doesn't seem possible to come up with a simple and accessible solution, all the better. Your competition will be ignoring the opportunity while you're revolutionizing the industry.


  1. It seems like there are two messages:

    1. Good enough design.

    2. Choosing between high-volume-low-price sales and low-volume-high-prices-sales.

    Which one is more interesting?

  2. Anonymous7:31 AM

    Hot topic. I just watched a business documentary ''The YES Movie'' it collected successful cases of today young entrepreneurs. produced by Louis Lautman