Amazon buffets the shores of brick and mortar retailers. No business is Amazon-proof. No business is sacred in the internet-era.
We have to assume that everything we do today will at some point be replaced by something quicker, cheaper, and more personalized.
Dumping the problems on tomorrow will get us rekt.
How do we remain anti-fragile?
The first thing Darwin’s finches did was grow adaptive beaks. They survived by optimizing their behavior for the micro-market. Some formed specialized beaks just for eating seeds, other grubs, buds and fruit, and insects.
Specialization prolonged their survival.
Sure, the big companies have all the data. But their experience at harvesting attention often fails to attract the customer in search of a unique experience.
Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai finished his most famous work, The Great Wave, at the age of 71. Upon seeing the print, Van Gogh remarked: “These waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it.”
Some people think simplification is the automatic exclusion of certain parts, a cheat to reach a faster conclusion. But that view is too short-sighted. Most of the time simplification is actually the deduction of unnecessary parts.
You can’t simplify without knowing all the pieces at play first. The artist considers every component and every tool in the beginning and then uses only what’s most important. The artist sets constrictions and works backward.
Simplicity is the bold attempt to do what works best, to minimize and remove complexity for the end-user.
Making for the masses taints the quality of the product.
The majority of the people appreciate what they get. They may even vote it up. Some people recognize the overt standardization and consume just to conform. It’s not worth tailoring a dish when it’s faster to eat what you’re served to survive.
We live in the dawn of personalization, where aggregate data gathered through apps, social media behavior, and web surfing should be able to personalize our experience for just about anything. Diversity gets rewarded with stuff that you and only you, like.
Still, there will be times when your choice is pre-determined along with everyone else’s, and there’s no way to order what you really like.
Standardization makes it easier for the makers to control consumption. All the ingredients and dish sizes are the same. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think everything is meant to be made and consumed in bulk.
No one has the same tastes, but most people have the same expectations. Demand better. Customization is the key to satisfaction.
I saw the new apartment outside mine get built from bottom to top. I watched the workers lay the stone foundation, embed a massive parking lot on floors one through 6 (see photo), and paint the finishing touches around the pool. It was like watching a kid grow up.
When you see something built in front of you, the parts, the guts, it’s even harder to believe in living in it. But that’s how everything works.
At some point, that laptop or mobile phone you’re using was just a bunch of different parts. Through the help of machines and delicate hand touches, those pieces came together to make products. And then someone sold it to you.
The weirdest part about the new apartment is watching salespeople market the rooms. They talk about the expanded facilities and the view. 7 months ago the gym was just a speck of sand and the bachelor pad was just air.