As a young child I had a pretty good idea of what the future should be like — less and less work. No one liked work or school, they liked to relax and play. After a few more years of early formal education, that idea faded away for a while.
It is pretty clear to me that this is indeed the direction we are headed in. Despite the vast libraries of government policies, past and present, aimed at minimizing unemployment — most people don’t want to work! With exceptions, work is a means to an end, to a broader lifestyle aspiration. The good, and bad, news is that the market for human labor will continue to face pressure from technology, and eventually, it will vanish.
Consider a business, Uber, one of my favorite iPhone apps. Uber strips a vast amount of waste from the transportation process. I take out my phone, see a map and an estimate of how quickly a driver can reach me. I make the decision right then if that time is acceptable to me and either call the car or go do something else. To call the car I press a single button, and watch the map update until it arrives. I tell the driver where I am going, and when we arrive I get out and that is it.
The other alternatives for transportation are vastly more complicated than this – from parking and maintaining a car in a dense urban environment to having a personal assistant call a town car dispatcher a day or two ahead of time (and having a driving swipe the credit card with one hand as he drives with the other.) In terms of $ Uber is a little expensive, in terms of time and effort nothing is cheaper.
Uber, and similar services, will continue to innovate. Prices will drop. Eventually drivers too will be stripped from the equation either because of price or law (prediction: 100% human operation of a vehicle on public roads will become illegal in 10 years or so, depending on your country of residence.)
Creating a waste-stripping business is difficult. You have to be really good at what your doing. You have to be new, because waste stripping, in a legacy business, means cannibalizing existing revenue streams for smaller ones.
The end goal of waste stripping is for you and your customers to do as little work as possible. With this philosophy in mind, you will question every extra button and check box on your mobile app. People who don’t believe this do not design things this way. Someone who asks, how do we create more jobs even if they are unnecessary, rather than how do we avoid wasteful ones, will struggle with designing efficient systems and interfaces.
If you don’t know what direction to take your business, pick the inevitable, stripping waste.
Coming soon, business models that make money by adding waste..