Usage Masks

Posted on June 30th, 2005 in Random - 0 comments

After spending almost an year in the world of business, I think I am qualified enough to make my own management theories and intellectual gyaan. Recently I read somewhere that ‘there is nothing new to discover as every possible thing has been covered’. But nevertheless you can try a half-baked pseudo management grad for a possible new management concepts or plain old jargon describing the blinding truths of obvious wisdom. Without wasting any further bytes and seconds on the introduction…

Have you ever noticed how the limits to a customer’s imagination are defined by the products that they use. For example, lets take user friendliness. The other day I was speaking with the sole doctor of our batch Pranav (who incidentally is my colleague during summers.) about the user friendliness of various operating systems. Despite being a doctor pranav has keen interest on IT and computers. He has even installed ‘linux’ on his lappie sometime back. So he commented that ‘Windows XP is much more user friendlier than Linux.’ Later we debated about that comment too. But the point is we often get blinded by the products and services that surround us. Since we never experienced or imagined what could be the ‘best userfriendliness’ we limit ourselves to marginal improvements over existing services or products without demanding for even more.

Lets take another example to make it more clear. ‘Communication’ using telephone was initially defined as fixed line services. Then some marginal improvements were made like speed dialing, redial, buttons instead of dial, change in ring tone from ‘tring…tring’ to something else etc. etc. Then someone thought about the space dimension and just questioned ‘Why should I sit at one place while I am communicating?’. Soon we have mobile phones and wirelesses and etc. etc. Then someone questioned ‘why should I even hold the mobile in my hand while I am talking?’ Bang and we have all these funky bluetooth enabled handsfree equipment. But at every stage we can see these ‘usage masks’ covering the consumers imagination until someone goes a step back and asks a very fundamental question like ‘why should I charge my cell phone at all?’ or may be ‘why do I need different chargers for different cellphones?

But the usage challenges become more complicated in mundane and day to day products with virtually 100% customer awareness. For example is there any other way to ‘take bath’ or even ‘make food?’

Thus I am adding my own water drops to the management jargon ocean by defining ‘usage mask’ as ‘A cloud created by the products/services surrounding the consumer such that it limits his/her ability to imagine in a much more fundamental way’.

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