Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Limitations of Choice

Break out your party hats, I am back. ;-)

It's been a long while since I have blogged about something other than poetry, so forgive my rusty intro back into the scene.

We (me and Rick) went furniture shopping over the weekend to a spot in the city known as "Furniture Alley." Basically, it is a street packed w/ about every chain store outlet and independently owned furniture store you can imagine. Our mission: to find a couch. Needless to say, after about 4 hours looking around, we came home feeling less enthusiastic than we started out. I was exhausted - we walked, yes, but I was more exhausted by the circuit-overwhelming number of couches we saw. In the end, they all sort of blended together in a mish-mash of pistachio fabric.

So you may be wondering what this experience has to do with anything? Well, it got me to thinking about the limitations of having too much to choose from - not an original subject (there are lots of really good books on the topic), but one that hits home for me.

I am someone for whom shopping is a chore, not an enjoyable activity. Adding hundreds of choices to the mix simply makes me freeze, go inward and retreat home empty-handed. I crave simplicity. And I know I am not alone in feeling this way.

When I come across a mega-store, a mall, or a business that tries to sell itself as "everything to everyone," I am likely to go elsewhere. This is especially true for service-oriented businesses that try to sell "expertise" in too many service areas. It simply smacks of thoughtless, reactionary decision making and a desperate grab for everyone's attention. There are many directions this topic can go in - The Long Tail, for one. For for the sake of *simplicity,* let me leave off here and pick up the topic again after some feedback.

My question are: What is your approach to the overwhelming number of choices we have, and have you experienced the pressure to be everything to everyone? Are you energized or drained by the vast number choices? What are the benefits of more? What are the negatives?