Coginitive Efficiencies – Friedrich Nietzsche – Jeff Veen

by Tom Carroll

I was reading Jeffrey Veen’s post titled “Intellectual Bargain Shopping” and found the quote below by Friedrich Nietzsche to be very interesting.

To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.

Jeffrey Veen comments on the quote,

I love how this quote turns the tables. Users aren’t stupid, they’re efficient. They’re spending the least amount of effort (i.e. intelligence) as they possible can on each step of the goal they’re trying to achieve. If you make them spend more, they’ll go somewhere else — it’s like intellectual bargain shopping.

Let me refine Jeffrey’s thought of user efficiency a bit. People want to expend as little cognitive capital (attention, perception, action, problem solving and memory) as possible to obtain a reasonable or sufficient value. This is why I believe that people are going to demand products and services that create cognitive efficiencies. As applications and services are built today few take into consideration the level of efficiency the customer desires. The more we focus on cognitive efficiencies, the more valuable our applications and services will become. It really is about what you give not what you get.

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Intellectual Bargain Shopping