I first heard Barry Schwartz speak at the GEL conference about his book, “The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less“. He talks about how freedom is better, but also worse. How the more options we have the better the final outcome, but the worse the experience. How 175 different types of salad dressings is ridiculous. Is too much choice bad? Does it really numb our thinking and decision making? Does variety mean quality? What’s better, Capability vs Usability. Anyhow, his incredible 1 hour Google lecture can be viewed here. For any of you out there that create consumer products, this is a must watch!
In my opinion, there are the services and products that that I love to have choice in, but then there are a ton of services I wished never had options. Airline tickets, phone plans, health plans, cameras, cars, and the everlasting ordeal of figuring out which movie to watch. A few years back, we’d just watch a movie that came out. Now we look at all the trailers, read a bunch of reviews, dive into their websites, ask friends that have seen it, look at their rankings, look at who’s in it, then finally deciding if the movie is worth watching even though we know everything about the movie now. After all that chaos, we have to figure out how to buy the ticket. Should we buy it early, online, offline, as a group, print the ticket, pick it up, matinÃ©e, which theater, etc. Many hours later, our choice is made, which is probably a great decision, but the experience to get there has become a job… So, is choice good? Is thinking about this good, bad? Well, enjoy the video which has several other examples of this paradox!