You Can Have Too Much Choice

So I read the Long Tail a little while back, one of the ideas is that when there is infinite choice sales from nice items combined are greater then the hits. I think this is a bit situational.

I Agree

I agree with the when your talking about items like books, CD’s or DVD’s. For one you can’t argue with hard numbers from Amazon! And in theory because you are looking for something in particular You’re trying to find an obscure album from whoever, or a DVD copy of Soylent Green!

I Disagree

One example in the book is about cars. Sure there is 1K models of cars but you see you know when you go out looking for a car that you want a 4 door sedan in the 30K range. When it comes to choosing a colour for that sedan this is where you can have too much choice. See you may want red but if there is seven reds that choice becomes daunting. Go look at the colour pallet for new cars, there is likely one one, maybe two reds.

Real World

I’ve heard this story a pile of times, so now it’s your turn. My Dad always tells this to people. Long before I was born, before my Dad was even my age, my Grandfather used to run a general contracting business. One of the jobs he did all the time was kitchen renovation. When it came time to pick the colour of the counter tops, it ALWAYS took the homeowner (read: wife) days (weeks even) to pick the colour. See there were hundreds of sample colours to choose from. So here’s my Grandfather, new job quoted waiting to go ahead and start on it waiting on a colour choice before he can get to work. Now my Grandfather was a pretty smart guy so after not long he and my Grandmother sat down, sorted through all the colours and picked the nicest three or four from each general colour. Now with a choice down to considerable few he rarely waited more then overnight!