More versus Better
I would never wear sweatpants in the broad daylight, and I am baffled over the false syllogism of non-like-minded “others”:
It could be the case that wearing sweatpants outside will increase the chance people will respect my fashion choices;
I want it to be the case that wearing sweatpants in public increases the chance people will idolize my fashion sense;
Therefore, it is the case that wearing sweatpants to the mall will increase the chance I will be chosen as the next top model.
Not that I’m disparaging an entire sub-section of the textile industry. I’m sure they employ millions of people and produce entire GDPs worth of value for several countries. I’m not against sweatpants as a whole. They are perfectly suited for the gym, or more realistically at my house on the couch watching House. But in that scenario, I call them “house pants”.
I’m just saying there is a time and a place for that exploration of your loose-fitting creativity....and that’s not walking around a theme park looking like you just got off the couch streaming your favorite medical show for the last 72 hours.
It’s a classic example of MORE philosophy of competition that seems to be permeating both life and business:
More programming attracts more viewers. More football games available. More channels. More streaming video. More commentary debate on YouTube videos of other people playing more video games
More features in the next version of the software will be a differentiator for the more features your competitor has in their product delivered with more frequency and painfully more bugs
More food options at the buffet. More buffets at the all-inclusive resort. More all-inclusive resorts on this government-controlled but commercially-owned island. More islands in the archipelago created from the eruption of this volcano centuries ago. Just to be more attractive than the Galapagos, with those turtles that get all the press.
When will it stop?
I’d argue that MORE is rarely appropriate, aside from good health and precious metals of course. Sure, I’d like to live to 100 and have “more” silver and gold. But I wouldn’t want to live to 300 and live near a uranium mine.
Isn’t MORE very much in second place as compared to BETTER?
Do you really want 1000 TV shows you never watch or 100 really good TV shows you could re-watch many times?
Isn’t a race to the maximum amount of 1000s of unused features in a product a losing proposition? Wouldn’t you find more users, and more loyal users if you coded the very best top 100 features possible?
What’s the likelihood you will want to find that one small hidden gem food stall in your favorite resort explicitly because you love the wait staff and they serve fresh-caught lobster?
BETTER is ALWAYS more important than MORE.
To bring it closer to why you might be reading this blog...that same concept applies in the business side....
Isn’t Digital Transformation simply the refocus of the company direction to steer toward the BETTER?
Digital disrupters are taking your market share, maybe even creating a decline in unit sales. Internet born, limber startups are acquiring your clients at a record pace. These entrepreneurs are finding client segments you were never able to attract and grow at orders-of-magnitude compared to your business.
Your reaction so far is to build MORE. More features in your product. More products in your portfolio. More companies that you acquire. More innovations and inventions to try to get more agile (IT and Business). But it really hasn’t made a huge impact has it? In fact, it has actually created strategic debt and put you further behind the competition.
The reason why the disrupters are winning is that they have discovered the one thing you haven’t yet: BETTER beats MORE. In fact, you don’t have to even be BEST, you just have to be better than the next competitor in line. They have a better user experience and fewer features. The features they do have are the ones used most often and are much better to use. They have a better business model that is attractive to customer segments you don’t serve. Those customers want to buy in a way that you don’t sell. And they have figured out to operate better so that speed to market beats repeatable processes every...single...time.
So what can you do?
You have so many more advantages than them:
A massive loyal customer base. You are a strategic partner.
Existing product and services that are “sticky”, difficult to easily displace
Cash. Money to spend the right way
Longevity and brand. Something that has proven you can survive failing so many more times than the disrupters
Use your advantages, and model your Digital Transformation program to exclusively create BETTER!
Let’s use the car insurance industry that has as an obvious transformational change potential:
Transform your Business model: the insured masses want to buy differently than you currently sell. There are far too many ways to find your way to a destination, but only one way to buy insurance: one car, for the lifetime of the car, for household drivers, paid monthly/quarterly/yearly. Your new description of the insurance needs of the masses should be: “Occasional drivers, Frequent passengers”. The use of taxi, ride-sharing, short term rentals, the gig economy and the shift to urban settlement has dramatically changed the needs of a big portion of your client list. It’s a prime setting for disrupters to create “situational insurance” that is only active when you drive and become life insurance when you are the passenger
Transform your Operational Efficiency: customers interface with you three times: application, renewals, and accidents. Any other work you do to maintain the systems, controls, governance and claims audit, while necessary, is meaningless to every single one of your customers and can’t possibly be your sweet spot or in any way a differentiator and is RIPE for finding alternative means and creating new capital. Outsource, partner, streamline.
Transform your Customer Experience: Now use all your new-found wealth from efficiency to focus to the EXTREME on customer centricity; on making those 3 interactions as simple as 1-click Amazon to buy, eliminating the concept of renewals to “situational” insurance purchased with marketplace pricing, and claims tied DIRECTLY to the car itself. The vehicle knows when it’s damaged. The systems do everything else automatically.
Don’t just add more insurance products, with a whole host of new features and functions and calculations and underwriting rules. I know it may sound shocking, but very few millennials attracted to the awesomeness of your actuarial.
Forget MORE. Be BETTER. (Better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone that I’ve ever met…yes, I went there)
Also don’t kill two birds with one stone. Don’t use sweatpants for everyday use. Find something else in your closet when interacting with other people in this wide world we call adulthood.