28 August 2009

Good Enough ~ Cheap, Fast, Simple... Fine!

Thanks to colleague José Gómez-Márquez for spotting this WIRED article The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine by Robert Capps. Skype, Kindle, Hulu, MP3, SketchUp, Netbooks, AUVs, MinuteClinics, the Flip -- all examples of low-end innovations blossoming and dominating their respective sectors. Writes Capps...
"The Flip's success stunned the industry, but it shouldn't have. It's just the latest triumph of what might be called Good Enough tech. Cheap, fast, simple tools are suddenly everywhere. We get our breaking news from blogs, we make spotty long-distance calls on Skype, we watch video on small computer screens rather than TVs, and more and more of us are carrying around dinky, low-power netbook computers that are just good enough to meet our surfing and emailing needs. The low end has never been riding higher. So what happened? Well, in short, technology happened. The world has sped up, become more connected and a whole lot busier. As a result, what consumers want from the products and services they buy is fundamentally changing. We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect. These changes run so deep and wide, they're actually altering what we mean when we describe a product as "high-quality." And it's happening everywhere. As more sectors connect to the digital world, from medicine to the military, they too are seeing the rise of Good Enough tools like the Flip. Suddenly what seemed perfect is anything but, and products that appear mediocre at first glance are often the perfect fit."

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