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Better is good enough


Cringely on why Google won
:

We didn't need Google, or didn't think we did before Google came along. I don't recall sitting around complaining about Alta Vista and Excite and the other pre-Google search engines, which seemed to do a pretty good job in their day. But then Google came along and was clearly better -- enough better that we all jumped.

How much better did Google have to be than Alta Vista to replace it in the minds and mice of most users? I argue five percent better is good enough. In a market where products are presented as services and those services are ad supported and don't cost users any cash, there is almost no exit barrier. The system has no friction, no stiction. Five percent better is enough to steal that kind of promiscuous market. And five percent isn't much -- a little better UI or server or just a slightly different idea can be enough.

Now let me take those same two paragraphs and apply them to the iPod:

We didn't need the iPod, or didn't think we did before the iPod came along. I don't recall sitting around complaining about my portable CD Player or small MP3 player and other portable music players, which seemed to do a pretty good job in their day. But then the iPod came along and it was clearly better -- enough better that we all jumped.

How much better did the iPod have to be than the Rio to replace it in the minds and playlists of most users? I argue five percent better is good enough. In a market where products are a series of tradeoffs between size, capacity and ease of use, the iPod was better at all three. Five percent better is enough to steal that kind of promiscuous market. And five percent isn't much -- a little better UI or server or just a slightly different idea can be enough.

“Better is good enough”