Thoreau was right. Maybe it's just part of the aging process, but I'm burned out on stuff that's feature-rich and benefit-poor. Not that it's ever been about bells and whistles for their own sake, but I used to get a kick out of exploring a gadget's features—the more the merrier. But something has changed. Not in a bad way, because I get a warm feeling every time I walk past the new gadgets in the mall, or click through them on the Web. It's a positive change; I can feel the stress melting away.

The thing is, I'm tired of constant improvements to stuff that didn't need improving, stuff that already did what it needed to do. I just want something that works, not something that works me. I don't mean bargain items, but products that are good enough, at a price that reflects this principle. Not shoddy, or cheap. There's elegance in simplicity, if it's properly executed.

So, just about everything that can be improved, is being improved. If you define "improved" to mean more features, more buttons, more choices, more power, more cost.

The washing machine I used this morning had more than 125 different combinations of ways to do the wash... don't get me started about the dryer. Clearly, an arms race is a good way to encourage people to upgrade.

I wonder, though, if "good enough" might be the next big idea. Audio players, cars, dryers, accounting... not the best ever made, not the most complicated and certainly not the most energy-consuming. Just good enough.

For some people, a clean towel is a clean towel.

Those are Seth Godin's words, which really struck a chord with me today for some reason. I'm not exactly sure why, but I have the feeling he's right about that next big idea. The New Minimalism, maybe?



  1. Anonymous8:06 PM UTC

    Great Points!

    I personally don't get how every single year, there is a NEW and IMPROVED version of Dorito's. They are basically chips with cheese stuff sprinkled on top. Right? What more can you do with that combination of ingredients to make it better?

  2. Anonymous11:51 PM UTC

    Thanks. You know, maybe it's time for a movement! No, not that kind. I mean the kind where vast numbers of consumers refuse to buy products that haven't really been improved, just hyped. It could happen . . . maybe . . .