Discernable Difference

How much do you need to improve so that the improvement can be felt? 10%, 100%, 1000% - It depends!

This blog will meander before it arrives at its point. Please play along.

When you see an image on a computer, it is produced by lighting up individual dots on the screen with a colour corresponding to its position. We call these dots pixels.

In the image above, the first image is 14 pixels per inch (PPI) or about 14 dots in every inch. We call this resolution.

If you consider the fourth and the fifth image, there is a 100% improvement in the number of pixels from 112 PPI to 224 PPI, but the improvement is hard to discern. While the resolution has improved 100%, it does not make a huge impact on the user. But if you were to compare the 28 PPI image with the 112 PPI image there is a 400% improvement and the improvement is hard to ignore.


Because the world we live in is so financially driven, we tend to assume that 20% upside is incredible. 20% return is insanely hard to achieve. We are wrong when we start to apply the same metric to try and measure all other things.

My offering is 20% better than what is already available in the market. Customers should just line up at my door to get what I have to offer!

We forget that for the person looking in from the outside; what you are offering is barely an improvement. Not to mention, if they already use something, there is a switching cost that they would have to bear on top of whatever your offering costs. So even if your cost is at parity with your competitor, you are probably more expensive.

I don’t know if you have to be 100% better or 1000% better; it just needs to be discernible.

From the image above, one thing is obvious. The lower the quality of competition around you, the easier it is to be discernably better with little effort. The difference between the first and second image is 100% and it is very apparent. The starting point is a very poor quality image. The same 100% is not good enough as the quality improves as in the last 2 images. It will take a lot more than 100%.

If you are starting a business or a creative project ask yourself or even just working at an organisation, ask yourself, am I offering better resolution? Is it discernible?

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What we think, we become ~ Buddha

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