domingo, 16 de janeiro de 2011

Different? Is it really that different?

I'm reading a fascinating book I still haven't finished. But I can't resist on writing about it. The author Youngme Moon teaches one of the most popular courses in Harvard Business School and she's a best selling case studies in the world.
I'm talking about her book, «Different». She challenges the definition of... Different. What is different after all?

First, I realize being different is not so clear as we think. Let's see. How companies evolve in time and how do they innovate their products in order to be different? Youngme Moon highlights that there are only two ways companies make their produts «different»: Augmentation-by-addition and Augmentation-by-multiplication.

«I like to give my students requires that they choose an established protuct category and predict what it'll look like in five to ten years. When they hand in their predictions, the two themes that crop up again are augmentation-by-addition and augmentation-by-multiplication. Computers will come with more memory, more storage capacity: augmentation-by-addition. Computers will come in specialized versions for children, for the elderly: augmentation-by-multiplication.
Cereal will come in easier-to-open boxes with easier-to-open inner bags: augmentation-by-addition. Cereal will come in specialized varieties for toddlers, for people with diabetes: augmentation-by-multiplication. (...)» Maybe we want this like companies do, «no different, and nothing more».

A fascinating phrase is on page 49: «The nouns and objects have changed, but the verbs have not.» That explains why the things we do remain but we do it differently. «The more things change, the more things stay the same.» Three examples:

- My kids «write their school reports on laptops and leave messages on my cell, but they still do their homework and check in with mom».
- «George Jetson goes to work in a flying saucer with a transparent top, but he still goes to work every day.»
- «Han Solo walks into a bar and it's a weird-looking joint with weird-looking dudes, but he's still just looking for a drink.»

Youngme Moon put me thinking on these things. Different? Where is the difference anyway? The market is full of same things in different shapes and sizes. The variety happens with a range of products that are the same... Look what is happening with mobile phones...

Finally, excellent book that alerts to the given reality as a truth when the reality has other forgotten perspectives. Five stars. Thank's Youngme Moon.