Archive for February, 2008

Haircut? Certainly sir, how many hairs do you have?

Have you ever walked into a barbers and asked for a haircut only and had the price quoted in "numbers of hairs cut?"  If you found this barber, would you get your hair cut there?

Now hairdressing industry specialists tell me that everyone knows that there are around 120,000 hairs on the average human head, with blondes having the most, and redheads having the fewest.  The technical challenges of styling hair is clearly linked to the number of hairs and the cost of a cut in terms of effort is also correlated, so it’s a perfectly reasonable way of pricing a cut.  In fact with current rates in london going as low as 8.3p per kilostrand there has never been a better time to get your hair cut.  In fact why not sign up for our monthly rate and guarantee a cut every 4 weeks for just £7.50.

The above discussion sounds absurd – yet if we replace the analogy of hair with that of bytes in mobile data we see a direct comparison.  The mobile industry has a problem in that it spends too much time thinking about the problems from the perspective of the industry, and too little time thinking about what consumers might want.  The advent of flat rate data tarrifs is starting to change this – with significant growth in the usage of mobile data.  How do we continue this trend? Focus on what consumers want, and provide it in a way that they can understand.  Avoid the temptation to provide consumers something that works "from the industry perspective" – remember all those unsuccessful barbers who price by the number of hairs cut.