Creating a New Standard

When you start something new, you have a grace period where what you are doing is compared to an inferior alternative.

Take Uber for example. I am old enough that I was able to experience years of horror relying on taxis to get around. I can recall the sketchy and unfriendly drivers, outrageous prices, long wait times, and inability to get a taxi on a busy night.

Every time I get into an Uber or a Lyft I am grateful for this solution that frees me from the pain of taxis. But, as time goes on the new solution becomes the new standard.

People in their early twenties that grew up in major cities have probably only taken a few taxis in their lives. For them, ride-sharing is the norm and the expectation.

Every time they get in an Uber they aren’t enthralled by how much better it is than a taxi, they are comparing it to the driver they had the day before who had free mints and water. They are comparing it to the Lyft they got last weekend with the upbeat and fun driver and the lower price.

Uber and Lyft can no longer get away with being twice as good as a taxi; they need to be consistently great and better than their competition. They have created a new standard.

This is true of building anything. At first, the opportunity exists because of inferior competitors, but when you create something better the expectations and standards rise. This is not a bad thing; it is a marker of your success and a helpful push towards greatness.

Uber’s success created a whole generation of people who won’t tolerate the scams, shenanigans, and poor service in taxis. They demand excellent transportation and are quick to give feedback when they don’t get it. They expect excellence and consistency, and as a result help Uber and Lyft create more value.

It is nice to have customers that love what you are building, but a necessary step on the path to greatness is creating a standard of excellence and having customers that expect nothing less.

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