Less is More: For Value Creation Focus on Subtractive, not Additive.

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
2 min read
…but the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom…

There are two things that product and service innovations can provide. They either reduce pain or add delight. Smooth, frictionless, fast transactions provide both. That is why online shopping is much better. You find what you want, click, and it comes to your house. This gives you time to do other stuff.

When entrepreneurs and engineers are thinking creatively about new product and service ideas, the tendency is to concentrate on new features and what can be added to create value. But real value creation in most cases is subtractive, not additive.

Our most precious asset is time. This is universally true for everyone. Time is the one thing that everybody has the same amount. The wealthiest can’t buy more time per day. Only on the “fall back” day of daylight savings time do we experience a 25-hour day. And we all get the same experience of that extra hour.

Nobody can purchase or be awarded a “Groundhog Day” type reprieve to get more done and hone skills.

Reducing frictions and saving time is a big value add for all of us.

When brainstorming novel product and service ideas and features, think subtraction instead of addition. Think what can be done to remove an obstacle or friction and relieve some recurring time-sucking pain.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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