Thank You for Being Mediocre

House of Cards

House of Cards

I love mediocrity. 

No, truly. 

I love waking up in the morning and turning on my bedside lamp only to find out that the bulb doesn’t work. Oh sure, there are companies that are working on some really cool smart bulbs, such as the folks at Ilumi. But my landlord is happy with the cheapest variety of lightbulbs found in the clearance rack of the 99 cent store. 

Wouldn’t it be nice for the lightbulb or lamp to tell me that it is about to die or I should think about replacing it soon? Of course it would! But when incumbents are scared of innovation, they try to lock you in to your good old mediocre standards. 

Ah, standards. 

Remember back in the 1980s when the average miles per gallon for a vehicle was 23.1mpg? The great news is that the average miles per gallon in this decade is not that much more! Less than a decade ago, it had barely budged up to 24.7mpg. 

I love that! We have standards that allow for mediocrity. 

I recently had a chance to fly Etihad’s A380 from Abu Dhabi to Sydney. I flew in a first-class apartment with a bedroom, a shower, a butler and a chef on board. On the other hand, US based air carriers are complaining about losing business because of government subsidies

And the list goes on and on and on. 

And yet, incumbents complain about losing marketshare or supporting legacy regulations. I wonder why! I always thought that mediocrity would continue to win.