Monday, March 03, 2008

Too much choice = nobody pleased

I was at a Macdonalds. It's not a happy place (despite the happy meals).
The staff in the place we were in were in a state of turmoil and panic. Stress levels appeared high.
It's unlikely that creative team was going home happy each night.
Just as importantly, I'm not sure many customers would be.
And I wonder if the cause is too much choice.
Macdonalds is always adding new stuff to the menu. New stuff that's rarely available at the moment you want it, resulting in your meal experience being somewhat... disrupted (here's your chips, now go and sit down while we cook the rest of your meal...?!). The wide range of choice means they do the jack-of-all-trades thing. Sounds a bit like mass media don't it?
Few people leave delighted. I share my bleak experiences of Macdonalds - you are less inclined to visit etc etc etc
So I thought, if Macdonalds just concentrated on (and became known for) being the best value, fast burger-chips-and-a- coke joint on the planet maybe everyone would get what they wanted, enjoy it, enjoy the experience, and tell their friends. Instead of trying to do everything, perhaps they should concentrate on doing one thing, brilliantly.
Very often media companies try to deliver 'everything' when they build a website. It's a habit brought with us from the stapled-together print world.
Rather, we should approach the networked world with a series of 'brilliant' services. If one of those is the content you create - great, but allow the user to disaggregate as they choose and reassemble to their own liking and take it where they want it to go (we are no longer the distributors).
It's like shopping. We keep building supermarkets, trying to make sure we stock everything.
Supermarkets work in the 'real world' because there is a travel and inconvenience issue (and granted, price too) in going to a range of specialist shops.
The web has one huge advantage over the real world in this respect - there is zero distance between all locations (which even has implications for the price thing too)
Now, how would you prefer to do your shopping?

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?