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This is your mind on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Good Design is Profitable

[ This was a recent comment that I made on Slashdot. But I was so thrilled with the point I made, I decided it needed to go up here too ]

The real economic factor that so many firms miss is that good design makes a profit. I’m talking about software design, product design, automobile design. Once an object loses its status as some unique category it becomes a commodity. Once it becomes a commodity people become more concerned with price. Design something really well and it gains in personal value and loses the stigma of commodity. Invest in design (and maybe use a real design firm like Apple does) and you will be rewarded for it. Consider vacuum cleaners. They’re a commodity. Everyone’s got one. So how do sell a vacuum cleaner for $500 when anyone can get one for $100. Simple. Re-design it. Look at the reviews! People are swearing up and down that this Dyson vacuum cleaner is the best vacuum they’ve ever used. It’s likely that Dyson won’t take over the market. But it is likely that they will have a stable totally loyal users that will buy only that brand. Hmmm. Sound like anyone you know? (Of course it sounds like Apple, but were you also thinking Saturn? Google?)

It never ceases to amaze me when people claim that Apple is not important because they only have 4-5% of the market. They’re not in the commodity business! BMW does not have more than 4-5% of the market. Neither will Dyson. Because they are not commodity firms. The companies I’m talking about are design firms (as in designer goods). Taking over huge amounts of the market by make cheap unattractive crap is not what they do.

To sum up: 1. Design 2. Profit!!!

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