It just works

Apple’s value proposition was that it just worked. You plugged it in and it just happened; no drivers to download, no configuration, no command prompt, just plug, and play…

Over the weekend, I was trying to Skype with my Mom so she could see her grandson. I was on my Nexus 5 and her, on her Windows based PC. It didn’t work and I couldn’t figure out out why, was it an Android/Microsoft thing? Was it a new OS thing? Was it a Google thing? Maybe it was a user thing. All I know is it ended in frustration.

It reminded me of Apple’s value proposition. It’s crazy to think that your product just doing what its supposed to is a value proposition. That’s like GM saying, “Hey, our cars just drive.”

And that’s exactly the point isn’t it? Cars have a long history. Digital communications, don’t. I can imagine when cars first started rolling out to the masses that your value proposition could have been “they just drive.”

There’s another time-based difference. Abundance. The cost of switching to Hangouts or FaceTime on the iPad is next to nothing. So while not long ago you could have gotten stuck with a car that didn’t just drive, “getting stuck” now is less and less of a reality. In a world of abundance, it just needs to just work…

Companies aren’t stupid, they’ve understood this and chose the easy option. They chose to lock down users with features, contracts and cancelation fees. The same goes for work mind you, the cost of switching jobs is next to nothing. Contrast that with before when you bought into a job for life. Companies have answered by locking down employees with policies, non competition clauses and probation periods. In short, industrialist marketers and HR professionals have chosen to be average, cut costs and lock down with fine print.

But the smart ones, the ones with courage, the ones that understand the short term doesn’t work in the long run have chosen to just make it work. Get rid of the lock downs and focus on value. Once you accept that the cost of switching is zero and that the only sustainable way to keep your clients and employees is not fine print but value and trust, you become remarkable and people don’t want average, they want remarkable.

(Photo credit: LaszIO GadjOS)