Jennifer B. Davis
I read Seth Godin's new book Tribes. In it, he makes some very provocative points about the fallacy of quality.

"Quality is not only not necessary, for amny items it's undesirable. If we
define quality as regularly meeting the measured specifications for an item,
then quality matters a lot for something like a pacemaker. It doesn't
matter at all for a $3,000 haute couture dress.

More fashion = less need for quality."

I found this statement very interesting. If something is more fashionable, it doesn't have to be "six sigma." More art. Less science.

I wonder if there isn't a graph that would show that people's expectation of quality rises as commoditization takes over a product. It becomes less unique. Less differentiated. And as a result, the marketplace raises the standards of "sameness." Predictability is favored over excellence. The restaurant franchise wins out over the brilliant chef. The factory pumping out millions of widgets wins out over the inventor.

Seth's point, and one that he doesn't advocate alone, is that quality is something the "factories" used to value, but that in many ways we have evolved beyond it. With the use of technology. With a growing discontent for sameness. We are demanding leadership and sometimes (or ALL the time) leadership is messy.

Makes me wonder how much we as leaders of companies, organizations, families, and product lines should emphasize quality, in its traditional definition. Maybe more effort needs to be put into true differentiation and a value that extends beyond predictable mediocrity.
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