Wednesday Words

To Go Where Your VisionPoints, a few inspiration points for you and your business.

We are always saying to ourselves… we have to innovate. We’ve got to come up with that breakthrough. In fact, the way software works… so long as you are using your existing software… you don’t pay us anything at all. So we’re only paid for breakthroughs.
—Bill Gates

Have I been looking at this all wrong? It’s been sitting in my treasure trove of favorite quotations for a long time, and I’ve always thought of it as an example of dogged determination, innovators pushing uphill against a rock that’s continually getting heavier, with progress trying to roll over even the mighty Microsoft.

A couple of days ago I was helping my father to put up shelving at the motel my parents own and operate. I got out the tools we’d need, and we went to work installing the shelving in all the rooms. When the job was finally finished I sat down (slumped, really—somewhere after a dozen it gets pretty tiring!) with the measuring tape in my hand. A tape he’s owned since I was a kid. Works like the day he bought it, though it’s been used and abused plenty over the years. Barely even shows wear.

All around this place there are items like that—no breakthroughs, no planned obsolescence, just great stuff that always has been great and without major trauma, always will be.

As long as you’re happy with what you’ve got, says Gates, you won’t buy more. They have to plan your discontent into the product. They can’t give you too much. They have to leave you wondering, what if this isn’t everything I’d hoped for?

So even with diminished expectations from all the other disappointments you’ve had, you’ll keep hoping for more. Maybe the rock is lowered standards, and some businesses have already let it roll over them. Doesn’t seem like a recipe for Maximum Customer Experience.

Thank goodness so many small businesses refuse to operate like this—yours included.

Maybe breakthroughs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. What do you think?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson