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The Cult of Convenience
An anti-convenience movement is forming
I’m having a busy week 😅…. so today’s issue is a bit of an explorative collection of quotes and ideas to creatively destruct our complex obsession with convenience.
Alright, let’s get right into it:
“Convenience is the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today.
[…] Convenience — that is, more efficient and easier ways of doing personal tasks — has emerged as perhaps the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies.” The Tyranny of Convenience
“We’ve gone from hunting and growing our food to pressing three buttons on a phone to get it…” Seth Godin
“The dream of convenience is premised on the nightmare of physical work.”
“Convenience was the household version of another late-19th-century idea, industrial efficiency, and its accompanying ‘scientific management.’ It represented the adaptation of the ethos of the factory to domestic life.”
“However mundane it seems now, convenience, the great liberator of humankind from labor, was a utopian ideal. By saving time and eliminating drudgery, it would create the possibility of leisure. And with leisure would come the possibility of devoting time to learning, hobbies or whatever else might really matter to us. Convenience would make available to the general population the kind of freedom for self-cultivation once available only to the aristocracy.”
Today, convenience is embedded into every particle of our lives.
“Across the economy, via startups and large corporations alike, a 20-year push has been toward simpler, faster, easier, and more convenient experiences with less friction and fewer impediments to a transaction.” Off Kilter
“The internet is a giant machine designed to give people what they want. It's not a utopia. It's not magical. It's simply an engine of convenience.
Those who can tune that engine well -- who solve basic human problems with greater speed and simplicity than those who came before -- will profit immensely. Those who lose sight of basic human needs -- who want to give people the next great idea -- will have problems.
We often think that the internet enables you to do new things, but people just want to do the same things they’ve always done." Evan Williams, Co-Founder of Twitter
“A likely end to the convenience arms race.”
“First, supply chain issues and war are combining to drive up inflation worldwide (ably assisted by corporate profiteering), which drives up costs.
Second, rising interest rates and souring investor sentiment vis-a-vis profitless companies make it much harder for convenience-centric corporations to absorb these costs.
And third, a cost of living crisis is driving many to tighten their belts and take on debt just to make do, which means the consumer appetite to pay for convenience that had previously been free likely doesn’t exist.
So what’s going to happen? Well, in a single word, POP.
Yes, the convenience bubble is almost certainly about to burst. And it won’t be pretty.” Off Kilter
Convenience has to serve something greater than itself, or it leads only to more convenience
“What did you have for lunch yesterday? Of all the lunches in all your possible universes, was it your first choice? Best choice?
When someone tries to take our freedom of choice away, it’s a problem. And yet…We have far more choices than we realize. It’s convenience that holds us back. And it comes in many forms: [social, physical, intellectual, financial,….convenience.]
If we ever saw precisely how much freedom of choice we have if we were willing to sacrifice convenience for it, we’d be paralyzed.” Seth Godin
“[What] today’s cult of convenience fails to acknowledge [is] that difficulty is a constitutive feature of human experience.
Convenience is all destination and no journey.
But climbing a mountain is different from taking the tram to the top, even if you end up at the same place.”
That’s it for this week!