All good things come to an end

A strong consistent brand, built up over time, is the best guarantee of future earnings. 

My current obsession

The book MAU MC 24 Design Principles for Massive Change by Bruce Mau. I read a chapter, take notes, summarise the notes into one sentence, think about how or where I can apply the principle and then for the next week play with the principle. 

I read this chapter on the ‘Difference Curve’ about a month ago.. and I keep coming back to it. I have started looking at everything in relation to the Difference Curve. It also took me back to my uni days when I first heard and feel in love with the term ‘Kaizen’ (meaning continuous improvement). 

What is the ‘Difference Curve’?

It’s the energy that comes from launching a product, identity or idea. It’s the impact of the ‘new’. The wave length of the curve can be long or short, but overtime the impact fades away. 

Nothing is exempt from the downward momentum aspect of the ‘Difference Curve’ no matter how amazing. The theory applies to careers, celebrities, cities, brands, relationships… everything. 

Fight it or work with it? 

Humans are typically not great with endings. We might stretch them out too long, pretend they’re not happening, end things too quickly and miss out on some important lessons or successes—the list goes on.

So if we know everything ends – why not incorporate this knowledge into our planning? 

This is where the opportunity of the ‘Difference Curve’ lies. It takes advantage of the obvious – that everything ends. 

It’s most likely that you apply the ‘Difference Curve’ in your work and life without even being aware of it. 

But would you do things differently if you were intentionally conscious of the ending right from the start? Would you wait for things to go south before doing anything or would you have a deliberate strategy around reinvention?

Mastering the Curve

Bruce Mau (author) writes “Mastering the difference curve requires exceptional vigilance and a commitment to unceasing creativity.”

Some brands have been exceptional. Steve Jobs (Apple) is one of the best. Before launching one product he had already had it discontinued in his head and was working on the 3rd, 4th, 5th iterations or the next reinvention. He also continued to reinvigorate the Apple brand through branding updates, campaigns and messaging. 

Dyson is another great example. Continuously improving on their latest models and launching new innovations.

Examples of companies that haven’t worked the ‘Difference Curve’ to their advantage: Blackberry, Blockbuster, Kodak, Yahoo… for the reasons that they didn’t differentiate themselves enough, didn’t adopt new technology or failed to innovate fast enough.

Words of wisdom / reflection

1. Say goodbye to say hello! 

2. Planning endings… A sure way to ensure ‘innovation’ becomes an undoubtable pillar in your business. 

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