Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Avoiding Predictable Mediocrity

Humans love predictability.

That's why we get frustrated when people don't use turn signals or when someone cuts in line at Aldi. It's why few people actually buy coffee at gas stations.

Retail chains that provide a predictable product, even though it's mediocre, tend to be the ones that succeed.

Starbucks coffee isn't really that good. It's over-roasted and often bitter. But it's predictable. I've purchased a cup of Pike's Place in Atlanta and in Beijing - and it tastes exactly the same. The systems are set up in such a way as to produce a predictable outcome.

MacDonalds is the same. Everywhere.

Coca-Cola is exactly the same.

Coke tried to change up their formula the year I graduated from High School (1985). It was either a disaster or a stroke of pure marketing genius. While "New Coke" received boos and hisses from consumers, the reintroduction of "Coke Classic" (the predictable old formula) boosted Coke sales beyond those of competitors. The boon has lasted to this day.

Predictable. We like that.

Here's my question. Is it possible to produce something that is predictably amazing? Can we set up systems to create things that meet and exceed expectations?

Avoid being predictably mediocre.

Be predictably impressive.