If you where starting a ice cream shop how would you like it to be
like? I’m sure you want lots of flavors, you want really nice seating to
enjoy the ice cream, maybe organic locally sourced ingredients, what
about free samples? You probably want this because you like me are the
occasional customer of a ice-cream shops. Once you become a proprietor
of a Ice-cream shop however, its easy to see how its cheaper to have
fewer flavors, low quality ingredients, no free samples, and why should
you pay rent for space for people to just sit around? If you run an
ice-cream shop for long enough you will entirely forget what it is like
to be a customer, and your entire world view will be based on how hard
it is to run a ice-cream shop. This is when your ice-cream shop starts
to suck. This is why most big brands and chains suck.

I
call this going from “Demand side service” to “Supply side service” and
its everywhere. Products and services go from being great to being easy
to make and deliver. The free market and competition is suppose to
deliver ever better products, but we are instead its delivering greater
profits at the expense of worse quality.

I see this
everywhere. The post office complaining that its too hard to deliver
mail, Customer service where you get automated messages telling you to
look it up online, staff no one took time to train, fast food meat that isn’t really meat. I work in
tech, so that’s that I notice supply side service the most. Every
product is made monetize my data, advertise to me, get me to subscribe.
Buy a smart TV and you have to spend an hour setting it up, and none of
the steps make the experience better for you, its all about making it
better for them. Don’t get me started on the Supply side service of
removing ports… Every interaction with a tech product has become a
game of “spot the devious monetization they are trying to hook you in
to”.

Go look up “art nouveau architecture“. We will never
make buildings like that again. Think of that. With all our tools and
technology, advances in design and economic growth, we will never do
something as good as we did 100 years ago. Don’t tell me no one can
afford buildings like that, people pay $10million for an apartment and
still get supply side service. The reason we don’t make great things,
isn’t because there aren’t any rich people. Making crap is how we make
rich people. No wonder the owners of Walmart are the richest people in the world. During last years holiday shopping season I happened to be
looking in the art book for Dishonored2 and I realized that nothing I
could find in the fanciest department store, held a candle to the props
in that book. I usually don’t want a lot of stuff, I used to think its
because I’m not materialistic, now I’m wondering if its because no one
makes anything good enough to be wanted.

I am a demand
side supplier, I want the things I make to be great. The good thing about when companies start delivering Supply side service, that’s when they start taking their customers for granted and can be out competed. My hero’s like John
Carmack, Linux Torvalds, Elon musk, Steve jobs and Kelly Johnson,
pushed the envelope because their goals have been to make something
great, not to make something cheaply and just good enough to sell. They
will never be understood by business people because they don’t care that
much how hard it is to make, their entire philosophy is, if we make it
good enough, people will want it enough that the economics will work
out. They are not looking for the path of least resistance they are
looking for the greatest result. It takes a lot of focus to always
imagine yourself as the customer, most aren’t even trying.