Economic Values: Are you optimizing for fidelity or convenience?
There are nine common Economic Values that people typically consider when evaluating a potential purchase:
- Efficacy — how well does it work?
- Speed — how quickly does it work?
- Reliability — can I depend on it to do what I want?
- Ease of Use — how much effort does it require?
- Flexibility — how many things does it do?
- Status — how does this affect the way others perceive me?
- Aesthetic Appeal — how attractive or aesthetically pleasing is it?
- Emotion — how does it make me feel?
- Cost — how much do I have to give up to get this?
In the book Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t, Kevin Maney discusses these common values in terms of two primary characteristics: convenience and fidelity. Things that are quick, reliable, easy, and flexible are convenient. Things that offer quality, status, aesthetic appeal, or emotional impact are high fidelity.
Almost every improvement you make to an offer can be thought of in terms of improving either convenience or fidelity. It’s incredibly difficult to optimize for both fidelity and convenience at the same time, so the most successful offerings try to provide the most convenience or fidelity among all competing offerings.