‘Never Settle For The Lowest Common Denominator’

July 11, 2013 11:12 pm

If we were asked to pick the one thing that Steve Jobs proved to the world beyond any doubt, it would be this: Never settle for the Least Common Denominator. Funny thing: the lesson applies to not just products, but to a much broader spectrum of decisions. We had written about this before, in ‘Polarize People’. Consensus is good, but it generally takes you nowhere. It is only those moments when someone has decided to polarize people that have brought progress.

PG offers a very valuable tip: ” If there were two features we could add to our software, both equally valuable in proportion to their difficulty, we’d always take the harder one. Not just because it was more valuable, but because it was harder. We delighted in forcing bigger, slower competitors to follow us over difficult ground. ”

Here is another tip on similar lines: If there are two features you could add to your software, both equally valuable in proportion to their difficulty, always add the one that polarizes people. Never settle for the least common denominator.

The lowest possible denominator takes you nowhere. Mark Zuckerberg calls it his ‘biggest mistake‘. Do not commit that mistake.

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