Limiting Choice

Have you ever been to the Burger Joint in New York City? If you do go there you won’t find a large menu. You won’t find expensive decor. You won’t find a fancy staff with attitude.  Rather, it’s what you might call a “well-edited” offering:

  • Hamburger or cheeseburger.
  • Soft drinks or beer (but only one kind of beer).
  • Chocolate brownie or no dessert.
  • Cash only, no credit cards accepted.

What’s the other thing you’ll find there?  A long line to get inside the door.

Now contrast that with most offerings to law firms by technology vendors.  In some cases, they offer so many bells and whistles (accompanied by complicated variations in pricing) that it can be extraordinarily difficult to reach what seems like the right decision.  Even if you’ve read The Paradox of Choice and understand that there may not be an optimal choice, law firm high standards of performance can make us feel that we have to be the exception to the Paradox of Choice — we have to be the ones who identify the optimal choice.  As a result, we spend a lot of time looking at options, discussing angles, considering more complicated implementations than may strictly be justified, and then we plan justifications.  The natural consequence of this is that we often end up trying to offer too many choices to the lawyers who want a simple, elegant and easy solution to their law firm knowledge management needs.  Perhaps it’s time we took a leaf out of the Burger Joint’s play book and started offering instead fewer (but excellent) choices.

[Photo Credit:  The Malones]