In his 2001 book “Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program”, Howard E. McCurdy examines NASA’s recent efforts to save money while improving mission frequency and performance. But spend any time with an engineer, and you will probably hear the phrase “Faster, better, cheaper — pick two.” Sometimes referred to as The Iron Triangle, this supposedly self-evident truism is repeated with great regularity among technologists, program managers and engineers, usually to justify the extensive amount of time and money expended on large, high-tech projects.
In today’s world, we have many examples that you CAN have Faster, Better, Cheaper – smart phones and computers are two perfect examples of technology that meet this test. It was only 50 years ago that the computing power now available in a tiny smartphone would barely fit in a small house – and cost over $100,000. The first iPhone was released in 2007 – just 9 years ago – at a cost in today’s dollar of $700 if you agreed to a 2 year contract. The newest iPhone today is $750 with no contract required. One could hardly disagree that in both of these examples the technology is Faster, Better, and Cheaper.
When it comes to Event Technology, the last few years have brought a steady stream of apps, software, and platforms that are Faster Better and Cheaper than their predecessors.
For example, some of the more mature registration platforms on the market – that were once the gold standard – are built on old architecture and offer a pricing scheme that is on the more expensive side relative to other newer platforms. These newer platforms – like Message Blocks, EventBase, Planning Pod and Picatic to name a few – often offer additional functionality and more intuitive design at cheaper prices. Faster, Better, Cheaper.
Mobile Event Apps are another example of a technology becoming Cheaper, Better and Faster. With well over 200 companies with some sort of mobile app for the events industry, competition is driving innovation up and prices down. Just a few years ago, many basic mobile event apps cost $5,000 – $10,000. You can now purchase more advanced apps for as little as $200, and sometimes for free (check out Eventpedia and AnyEvent Apps)
I’m not implying that older, more mature platforms are obsolete. In fact, many of the more established companies are well funded and continue to invest in upgrading their platforms for their users. But with these products, you run into that old Iron Triangle – Faster, Better, Cheaper — pick two – with Cheaper rarely offered as a choice.
My point is that there’s a growing set of innovative options available that are great alternatives to those older, more mature products. And those alternatives are Faster, Better, and Cheaper.
It takes due diligence and research. Cheaper is not always better and Faster and Better can be difficult to judge. But a little bit of time invested can reap multiple benefits.
And if you’re new to the technology bandwagon, the good news is that it’s easier and easier to get up to date and leap frog into the current day. We live in exciting times, with change coming fast and furious. Let’s hope it continues to bring technology that is Faster, Better, and Cheaper.