The Concept of Enough

I came across this talk on the YouTubes the other day and it has really stuck with me.

I love this concept of enough as a counter argument to conscious consumption. It has gotten me thinking about its application to design. I tend to loath the phrase “minimum viable product” but when I look at a lot of the work I admire in our field it tends to be quite reductive, it tends to be just enough design to make a difference. I think there are ways to apply it to product design, and portfolio management. I’ve worked at so many companies and with so many clients with massive SKU proliferation and you look at a company like Sonos that has 5 or 6 models and see there are much simpler ways to do things.

Anyway, thought you might enjoy the video.

Or look at OnePlus. One single flagship model, every 6 months. None of this high end, high end plus, slightly higher end, middle end, middle end plus, entry level plus…

I really liked what he said about more doesn’t make you happier. Just because there are more features in a phone doesn’t mean you’ll like it more. You have to appricate the parts for what they are. Like you both touched on, brands with smaller product lines such as Sonos and OnePlus can spend more time making the best product ever, rather than worrying about developing tens of products at once.

How many products is enough to achieve a brands mission?

Another example: Carsthatnevermadeitetc — What a difference 20 years makes alternating views...


It was a good watch, thank you for sharing! Couldn’t agree more with the comments above.
It’s also particularly relevant mindset at this time of year while we get bombarded by an increase in advertising telling us what we ‘need’.

Thank you Michael for linking that one and re-introducing the audience to TEDx once again.

I must admitt this one really cracked me . When I visited California nearly 5 years ago it was very visible that the west coast was under immense pressure. How the system of greed has flawed our lives is put to the very roots of the cause with that brilliant talk by Kevin Cavenaugh, even if he could be a more
humble and down to earth guy.

Our generation can make a whole lot of difference. We have all the tools at our hands.

First thing will be that I take this afternoon off and try to really be a father, spending some time with my little ones and my love.



Very European View Point:


How about “appropriate” instead of “enough”?

Mo-i is that Fiat full scale :slight_smile:

That image is a fantastic example. I was visiting some of my wife’s family in London earlier this year. One of her cousins is a “car guy” like me and he excitedly asked “what kind of car do you have? A Camaro, a Mustang? A big Jeep?” … I think he was disappointed in my answer of “A Golf R and a 17 year old TT”

Appropriate is another way to frame it, and is probably a more “appropriate” term :slight_smile: I think as a Ted talk, the “enough” language is probably more hyperbolic click bait…

I think our culture is excessively saturated in stuff to the extent that we could probably cease all manufacturing and live off a mix of unsold old stock, repairs, repurposing, or just going without inessential items for a good decade or two and experience no appreciable decline in the standard of living. The excess really makes me sick when you consider just how expertly we are destroying the world our children will inherit; all the resources wasted on things that, if used at all, will be used for minutes and then spend millennia in a landfill; not even considering the damage caused by manufacturing this junk. Even nicely designed stuff goes down this road, maybe after a slightly longer period of use that is still a drop in the bucket compared to how long it will be garbage.

BCIP: This is exactly why my younger brother stopped being in product design right after the diploma and chose human rights/ adult education as alternative (rough) professional path.

Indeed within our oversaturated economies one can live off the crumbs, that fall off the tables of “normal” consumerism.
My future second wife dealt some lessons concerning this to me. Showing that it is entirely possible to nurture 2 teenage daughters, have food and clothing, a fun! social life on cents instead of Dollars. Over here in Germany we have an active “food sharing” network, that repurposes excessive “waste” food, you can do carsharing, use public transport or a bike and live quasi like a student, all while doing meaningful work, that might not pay six-figures. Very valuable viewpoints in recalibrating my personal values.


I’m not sure if it is my age, because I’ve been lucky enough to be able to get enough things that I like and enjoy, or because I’ve been running my own business for s bit now but I’ve just gotten a bit more satisfied with what I have. I don’t feel as compelled to buy another watch, a nicer couch, some fancier shirts, a newer car. I realize this is an easier thing to get to at a certain point in your career…So this video really resonated with me at the right time. I think if I watched it 5 years ago I would have passed it by. It does lead to some existential angst in design consulting and before we right proposals I try to push on “is this something that will increase joy in people somehow either functional, emotionally, or hopefully both?” … it defiantly produces a path of thought like your brother had mo-i. I’m caught between loving what we do and thinking maybe there are other ways to more positively impact the community around me. I think I’ll try ramping up some volunteering in the new year.

Mother Teresa
The Dalai Lama himself

No one listens. :frowning:

not until we are ready I guess… “less is more” :slight_smile:

Haven’t been ready for the last 10,000 years. At this rate, it will be long too late.