The Buffet

When you order an entree, the kitchen staff tries to put the best possible experience on that plate for the price you are paying. Your expectations are limited to what is on that plate.

At a buffet, the goal is to put out a lot of low to medium quality food, and your goal is to eat enough to feel you got your money’s worth.

The value equation switches from quality to volume.

The same thing has happened in cell phones. Once, usage was billed by the minute, so competition was as much on quality and range as on price. Telcos has incentive to upgrade their networks to attract users.

Now with bulk pricing and essentially buffet data plans, we use as much bandwidth as we want, and the telcos give us the minimum level of service that will keep us renewing our contracts.

The buffet plan has won because we prefer to use our phones without having a meter running in our heads, but our level of service has probably dropped. That’s exactly what we told the telcos we wanted, too.

Just good enough won.


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