Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Design Matters - Part II

As I write this, I am reminded of something I saw on EBAY this morning. A 1992 Ferrari F40 was selling for $619,000 with many models above $500,000. And these are USED! I thought that was a fitting intro for my thoughts today about the value of Design. In my last post I discussed why a house that is considered is not only worth more, but it also makes you feel better. Today I want to discuss how great Design can be the Blueprint for a successful business transaction. Whether that transaction is selling your house or staring a company, Design Matters.

Let's take a look at the Ferrari once more. Now, I would never buy a Ferrari, because to me, a car is just about getting from A to B. But I can certainly look at a Ferrari and recognize that it has been designed both a vehicle and a work of art. Anytime I have been in my car and pulled up near a car of this magnitude, whoever I am with always says something like "Hey, check that car out!". Now I would suspect that most people couldn't tell a Ferrari from a Lamborghini from a Lotus, but I have never been in the car when someone was excited to see a Toyota Camry or a Chevy Malibu. This is because the Design of those vehicles is driven by cost and ability to be mass produced. My point here is that when producing great Design is the driver, the result is usually something that is elevated beyond function alone. It is this elevation that often justifies the higher price tag than something that just serves the purpose.

Let's switch gears to another company that understands this: Apple. By putting Design first, they have carved out a product line that is more than twice as expensive as their respective competitors. Yet despite the big Recession, consumers are actually buying more Apple products this year than last. Does that make sense? Absolutely. Apple offers each customer the ability to be on the cutting edge of both technology and Design. While other stocks have lost up to 90% of their value, their stock is actually holding its value. I could talk about many other companies that embody these virtues, but I will save that for another day. The only thing I will say is that next time you are waiting in a really long line for a Burrito or a Mini Cooper, ask yourself what it is about the product that makes you want it. You will find that the answer to that question is in the details. All of the details of whatever it is that you want, have been considered and thought about. Do you know who thinks about these details? Designers.

I will end today with some thoughts about your house. If you are one of the people who has been affected by the unprecedented destruction of personal wealth in the last 24 months (i.e. the value of your house has fallen significantly) then I will give you this advice. Consider the details of your house. Does your huge walk in closet have a cheap wire shelf around it's perimeter? Is your study just a room called a study, or does it have well constructed milllwork built in to the space? Does your living space have wall to wall nylon carpeting that not only traps germs and allergens, but also makes you sicker? Ask yourself why your house is better or worse than your neighbors house. Is your house a cookie cutter model or has it been designed to serve the needs of living? I can tell you that the latter types sell MUCH faster. Design Matters.

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