Wii and the Bell Curve

December 26, 2008  

Many of my recent posts discuss “Innovation and the Bell Curve.”

One quick comment on this idea.  I often say that the left-hand side of the bell curve is about affordability and accessibility.  But sometimes it is just about accessibility – for a premium price.

Two quick examples come to mind.

The Nintendo Wii is one of the best examples.  Here, instead of creating higher quality graphics that would appeal to the advanced gamer (the right-hand side of the bell curve), they created graphics and interfaces that would appeal to people ages 8 and 80 alike.  That’s accessibility (left-hand side of the bell curve).  They must be doing something right.  According to Engadget, 1.7 million Wii units were sold last week, when only 500 thousand XBox 360s and 240 thousand PlayStation 3s were sold.  And of course there are all of the Wii add-ons.

Another example comes from the Financial Times.  This is the best business and finance newspaper in the world.  In addition to the paper, they offer many advanced services that would appeal to only those in financial institutions (right-side of curve).  But they also offer their Lex subscription service for mobiles.  This boils down all of the most important news into bite sized nuggets (and it is one of the most popular sections on the print edition).  For people suffering from information overload (like me) this provides greater accessibility to the topics that matter most (left-side of curve).  The cost to deliver this service is close to nothing (it’s all digital), yet the price to the consumer is more than the price of a print paper subscription.

Sometimes being more accessible (simpler) can lead to greater value and hence greater returns for you.

Happy Holidays.

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