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Trade Routes: Global Market Warming

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: October 9, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

Can there exist “better than perfect?” In today’s global market, success may not depend on perfection but on constantly “perfecting” products, services and offerings. Something that works reliably, on time, without much effort or cost, and that people appreciate and are willing to pay for usually suffices. In fact, you may have noticed, that is what we often get from well-known companies and brands—good enough in its current form; not perfect but with the promise of continuing improvement.

For example, Microsoft has consistently been introducing and delivering products and services that have not been “quite there” at the launch—whether intentionally or unintentionally, I don’t know. Yet, its products are functional and fill a need. The products may not do all that you would like, or in the way you want, but they do the job. If you really want perfection, you will have to wait a lot longer and pay much more. And even then, “perfect” may not be much better than okay and is probably just the best that is available.

What’s Around the Corner

In today’s global market, “best” is always just around the corner. Human creativity is at work 24/7 everywhere. Increasingly, beauty products are being developed and sold worldwide from and within countries many Westerners only used to know from National Geographic. So, get used to the idea that, sooner or later, something better will be coming your way—and just as likely from the most remote corner of the earth as from your local market.

This trend is as natural as evolution. Nature is always developing better solutions to meet the demands of changing environments, because perfection rarely occurs. The same thing happens in business—it is industrial evolution.

Global Market Warming

Warming isn’t limited to the environment; it is also happening in global markets. They are heating up as living standards rise around the world and as customers become more sophisticated and demanding. If you watched the Beijing-hosted Olympics, you couldn’t help but notice how similar the Chinese people to their Western-world counterparts in how they act, dress, eat and drive. Not only are Chinese consumers’ preferences on the move, their expectations are also rising rapidly.