Counter-Intuitive Rules of Design

Kontra over at counternotions writes:

There are many counterintuitive ‘rules’ in product design, these two are among the most intractable:
• The more successful a product, the harder it’s to upgrade.
• The more users say they want a product update, the more they complain when the change arrives.

Aside from the great article about how iOS is a victim of its own success, I find that these two points also reflect a poignant dichotomy of issues many successful businesses (of all types) face.
Let me elaborate.
A successful business that does too well finds it very difficult to change and innovate for fear of changing the success mix. As a result they get quickly overtaken by up and coming competitors willing to take innovation risks. These competitors, in a vicious cycle, will eventually get overtaken. Some people also call this the Curse of the Winner, similarly seen in actors who win Oscars then fail or one-hit-wonders in the music industry.
This is actually a good problem to have, as you only have so far ahead of your competitors that they have a tough time catching up.
The main issue is when 2nd place (or more) organizations also have this irrational fear of taking risks. If they do so, they will have to content with competitors not only in front of them but also behind and around them.
Being squashed like a hamburger patty is no fun at all.
Quote via: counternotions.

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