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Complexity Avalanche

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Complexity Avalanche

Overcoming the Threat to Technology Adoption

Point B,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Do you know how to use all the features on your smartphone? If you don’t, welcome to “the consumption gap”!

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


In this accessible, widely applicable book, technology industry executive J.B. Wood addresses a visceral reality: As technology explodes, manufacturers of new products add features faster than users can learn to use them. As a result, returns of perfectly good products skyrocket, consumers turn mulish and sales of new products stall. However, Wood offers a solution: Shift your organization’s focus from sales to customer success, in the form of service and support. He details his suggestion by documenting what such a transition would offer and explaining how challenging it would be to implement. His presentation is not perfect. It needs better proofreading and, as president and CEO of the Technology Services Industry Association, Wood perhaps beats its drum a bit too hard in preference to other possible solutions. Those caveats aside, leaders and marketers from every company dealing with technology should read this book. In particular, getAbstract recommends it to executives planning for the future, corporate managers focused on high tech and would-be innovators who don’t want to far outpace the buying public.


What Is the “Consumption Gap”?

Any company whose product involves new technologies faces a serious problem. Inventors, programmers and engineers happily generate innovation after innovation, attempting to set their companies apart from their competitors. But, unfortunately, new inventions and features emerge faster than people can learn how to use them. The problem isn’t particular to any individual product, or to any customer who can’t figure out what to do with it. Instead, complicated systems are stumping people, and those who feel bamboozled aren’t technologically conservative or uneducated consumers. Sometimes, entire workforces of experienced practitioners fail to use all of the technological features their employers buy. Sometimes, they aren’t even aware of them.

Even information technology firms often fail at “software deployment,” but the consumer market’s deployment problems are all the more striking: In 2008, more than 70% of cellphones could film videos, but only 28% of users knew about that function. Consumer electronics’ return rate ranges from 11% to 20%. Usually, nothing is wrong with the gadgets – people just can’t get them to work. A Technology Services...

About the Author

J.B. Wood is president and CEO of the Technology Services Industry Association. He co-founded InsightExpress, which helps companies use the Internet for market research.

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