Why do products not last long enough?

August 9th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I am hearing lately that iPhones are not lasting too long and they break easily.  Whose fault is it?  Customers or the company?  The writer of an article in New York Times, Electronics Designer Struggle with Form, Function and Obsolescence, questions it.

I think it’s a combination of both.  Americans, in general, enjoy having an excuse to buy a new product because we get bored easily of the same product of which we own and plus, we like new things where it’s free of scratches and works well.  Perhaps companies like to make products that are not so durable so that they can get their customers continue to buy products in order to keep cash flowing in to their pockets?

I read an interesting passage in The Culture Code explaining why American products such as cars do not last longtime.

“The Japanese couldn’t ‘dispose’ of their houses or their property if they grew disenchanted; they needed to make the most of their land and to keep it as productive as possible.  In addition, because so many people live in such a small space (the population of Japan is more than 125 million; that’s 43 percent of the American population in 4 percent of the space), efficiency is critical.  There’s no room for wasted products or wasted process.  Mistakes are costlier.  Quality is a necessity. Perfection is premium.

Americans, on the other hand, find perfection boring.  If something is perfect, you’re suck with it for life, and that doesn’t sit well with most Americans.  We want a new car every three years.  We want a new television every five.  We want a new house when we have kids, and another when the kids grow up.”

No wonder why Japanese cars are made so well!  It’s interesting how geography can influence the culture.

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