January 7, 2009

Are You Average or Universal?

It was bound to happen but its arrival was no less difficult. I began getting a warning message a week ago that the AC adaptor on one of my laptops didn’t have enough something and the plug wasn’t something else. No idea, I ignored the warning.

Important: One issue I learned long ago - the wrong way - was to always back up your data.

Step One: Assume I did something wrong. I ruled that out. I oversee productions and develop projects, but trust me – no one lets me get too close to the gear!

Step Two: Jiggle the handle or reboot. That didn't work.

Step Three: Accept that equipment breaks, breaks down, and often needs to be replaced.

Step Four: Look for a replacement adaptor through the manufacturer and retail sites.

A colleague suggested that I purchase at a universal unit. It’s one-size-fits-all option for all computers - in theory. A buddy chimed in later in the day to remind me that his television “universal” remote has never worked properly. Great!

Does One Size Fit All?
Have you seen the commercial for The Snuggie? It’s a blanket and a sweater. Apparently it’s fun for the whole family.

Take a moment and think of the smallest person in your life. Now think of the largest person in your life. Now imagine both wearing the same sized garment. Quite a sight, isn’t it?

The key for an Acura won’t fit in a Toyota, and apparently there are 865,917 different laptop adaptors on the market! I just wonder if there are ways to merge the one-size-fits-all model with the too much choice model. Perhaps I'm dreaming.

How Does It Apply To You?
This isn’t about computer cables or cozy couch wear. Look at your business, your service, and most importantly you.
° How are you different?
° How do your customers interact with your offerings?
° How easily can customers understand what you offer?
° How easily can they find it?

One size does not fit all. And when there is choice it must be clear and concise. The company that made my laptop has 50 AC adaptors for their own computers. That makes sense.

I'm sure there is a technical reason and I don't care. It's silly.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to interact with your products and services. Choice can be good. Choice can be bad.

Now what is the model number on my laptop again?


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