Maybe it’s all about choice (preliminary)

I am trying to find the connection between all these aspects. Which are the drivers in this transition that so many products and services go through? I can see so clearly the ”before and after”, in so many areas. But how can I explain it?

I think a part of it is about choice. Let’s take Maslow’s pyramid: until you are safe and fed you are in a ”beggars aren’t choosers” situation. When survival is assured, the consumer, or beholder, is above a certain level of basic devices and able to make a choice. Fish or beef? They are both ”good”, what will you choose?

And the suppliers, companies, manufacturers, on the other hand, they have a choice in what attributes they add to their product, freer and freer – or farther and farther fetched if you like – as the product evolves.

Székesfehérvár 2008

And when competition gets more aggressive, you have to respect the users/consumers/beholders choice. In order to survive, as a company.

So at a certain point, providers and consumers meet on an experience level where everything is about the things you will focus on when the basics are safe, the things you choose because you like them. The driving force is for all parties choice. Step into an American diner and look at the menu. Hundreds of alternatives! Well, some of them not so different; one egg omelette, two eggs omelette, three eggs omelette… Why? The sense of choice.

And I think this is fundamentally human. Natural populations spend just a little time every day on securing survival. The rest of the time they are chatting, discussing, gossiping. Enterprise of their choice. In the early industrial age, machines were decorated because humans would choose to do so, not because it was physically necessary. Just as American car manufacturers in the 1950’s would add enormous (and very easy to produce by the way) fins to their cars, because they chose to do that instead of something else.

Then, in the 1930’s functionalism came and took away all elements of free, non directly rational choice in products, furniture and architecture. And now we call these phenomena, as they return,  ”postmodernism” or ”the experience society”.


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