Last night I’m in Barnes and Noble. I’m in the business leadership section, and I notice a theme. Right in front of me are 4 books on Steve Jobs. These books are separate from the best selling Walter Isaacson book. I picked up a few and skimmed the content. In my opinion, these books looked like cheap knock-offs by a 2bit author looking to profit from the name/reputation of Steve Jobs. I leave the business section and move to the personal finance section, and I notice the same theme. There are countless books with advice tailored to getting out of debt, stock-investing, retirement, etc. It struck me as odd as their is so much of the same content to choose from. I thumbed through some of the stock investing books and noticed it’s basically the same content. This experience led me to ask myself how much is too much, and how do we derive value from virtually the same stuff?
Same type of thing spills over to technology. I’m an iPhone user, and I organize all my apps into folders. I have two folders entitled “social.” I opened one of my folders and I noticed I had 4 checkin apps. Foursquare, Clingle, SCVNGR, Sonar. When I thought about it, I realized I only use 1 consistently. I also had 5 daily deal apps, 7 social networking apps, and a plethora of news content apps. All of these apps overlap and basically they all serve the same purpose.
Unlimited choices can be overbearing. I guess, if you’re a business, you better find a way to drive value to your users, otherwise you’ll run the risk of just blending in. Think differently. Act differently. Be different.