Building things that do [ just one thing ]

Neon Red PigThere’s no need to make this complicated. People want to make it complicated.

My brain isn’t that smart – I need to dumb things down. And it ends up, dumbing things down can usually elevate your chances of success.

When I consider a project, I like to compare it to a washing machine.

Washing machines do one thing.

Set a cycle, mash a button, and the receptacle goes to work.

It doesn’t dry clothes. It doesn’t fold clothes. It doesn’t warn you when you throw a red shirt in with all your whites.

It just washes.

Here in the United States, consumers purchase one metal box to clean, plus one metal box to dry. You’d think we’d have combined them by now, like Europe has, but no – – separate. And we sorta prefer it that way.

I admire that simplicity. Simplicity can be an unfair advantage, if you think about it.

One of my projects involves selling sweet Vidalia onions. A lot of my customers ask: “What else does your farm sell online, Peter?”

My answer: “Nothing, just onions.”

At the beginning of that project, my monkey brain kept insisting we expand into other categories.

“SELL  GEORGIA PEACHES!    it’d say.

“OH OH!  GEORGIA PECANS! 

I allowed it to chirp over the course of two shipping seasons, but by the third, I’d duct taped its mouth.

Where my internal monologue wound up, was here: Why downshift into another category when our primary continues to grow 25%-50% every year? Why water down my attention when our principal has clearly struck a nerve? And hell, we’re still tweaking logistics, customer support, quality control, etal on Vidalia anyway. It’s nowhere near perfected.

Growth for growth’s sake doesn’t make sense to me. We’re not Amazon. We don’t want to be Amazon. We’re privately owned & family operated – we don’t have to listen to that diatribe.

What does make sense is controlled growth, with a strong connection to our product & customers. Correction, an intense connection with our product & customers.

Penny gumball machineOne product, though. It doesn’t have to be any fancier than that.

Drop a penny in a gumball machine, slide the lever, and a gumball rolls out.

Happy customer. Problem solved.



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