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KISSing Dumb Smart Products

KISSing Dumb Smart Products

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Episode 61

You’ve heard of the KISS principle, right? Keep it Simple Stupid… Well, I don’t think many consumer smart product makers have. Maybe it’s just where we are in the IoT evolutionary cycle but often they take a perfectly fine, and simple, product and heap on to it a lot of complexity when making it smart. Even worst, this complexity often adds very little incremental value.

Ironically the KISS principle was coined by Kelly Johnson, the leader of Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks Program, founded in 1943 to develop America’s first jet aircraft. There was a pragmatic side to this. He reasoned that if a serviceman with basic training and basic tools couldn’t repair their products in the theatre of war, they would become obsolete and useless. This was the motive behind the KISS principle that’s still used today to design complex systems. Unfortunately the notion of simplicity completely goes out the window for most smart products. Making them smart generally adds complexity, not overly compensated by value, in fact, usually the opposite. Consumer smart products have a steep enough challenge when it comes to price, so adding complexity during installation, setup and operations, is a death knell. This leads me to believe that most smart products are better left dumb.

Here’s What We’ll Cover in this Episode

  • Many examples of dumb smart products including showers, toothbrushes and weights.
  • Why most consumers just don’t get smart products.
  • How we are in a transition, not that different from when we transitioned from radio to television.
  • Why consumer IoT products must focus on incremental value, real incremental value.

Mentioned in this Episode and other Useful Links

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What are some great examples of smart, smart products?

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