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spambearpig t1_j9xs22w wrote

It depends on each type of product. If you mean phones then no. So many components of a phone advance fast enough that a phone that stays the same for decades is not at all what I want. I will actually want a refresh of the technology faster than a good phone goes out of support.

If it’s a washing machine then I would sure like to buy one that’ll last for decades at least and can have parts swapped out easily. I guess the biggest part of that difference is the washing machine doesn’t really advance that fast.

I sure don’t like waste but sometimes planned obsolesence isn’t the only reason old things end up less and less useful these days. I’d like to see total recycling of electronic gadgets, so once it’s too old for one reason or another it gets recycled and turned into the new improved version.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xsejw wrote

Thanks for the constructive feedback and valuable insights. Products with fast innovation cycles can also be made modular so that you don't change the whole device. We actually had that for a while across laptops and even some attempts in smartphones. Currently the whole competition revolves around lower prices and that makes planned obsolescence obligatory and hard to fix by circular economy alone.


spambearpig t1_j9xt89r wrote

Yes but making something modular compromises a lot of other priorities. In general you can’t make something modular without making it worse at the job it has been designed to do right now. Heavier, less waterproof, more expensive, things like that.

I like modular things but I can see how an ipad pro would be worse if everything was designed to be modular.

So of all the things I think modular design works best for, tiny compact advanced tech items are the worst. Such a premium on weight, thinness etc and they advance so fast.

Modular car parts, washing machines, microwaves seems way better. They are big objects, less space/volume crucial, physcially bigger so represent more landfill waste and shipping/resoucres to replace.

So yeah I’d like to see more modular repairable things and I’m willing to pay the extra for it. But I don’t want a big chunky moderate performance phone that is modular. I do want to pay triple for my washing machine and then have it for life.

Also I’m not sure lower prices is the only thing going on here. In my iPad example, it’s the thinness, lightness and external elegance of the thing that would be compromised in making it more modular. They’re selling expensive stuff there based on performance and style and consumers clearly want it.

I agree that modular construction and increased repairability are vital and need improving, circular recycling too. Don’t think it can just be done and there we go problem solved.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xth9r wrote

I understand your point of view. Thinness and lightness have their limitations too. They can't go on forever and definitely there is a trade to be made.

The idea is that you don't pay double or triple but rather get it as affordable as the mainstream ones and then reward the company for each year it lasts. It guarantees fair trade rather than marketing promises.


spambearpig t1_j9xtuax wrote

Thanks and I do appreciate your idea. I was avoiding picking holes in it. But one thing I did notice is that you might have incentivised your customer to manufacture problems with the product, so they don’t have to pay the annual fee. Which may lead to the company, having quite some cost to verify who has a real problem, and who is trying to pull a fast one.

I actually have some experience in the furniture industry on the IT side of things, specifically around complaints about furniture relating to manufacture warranties.

Believe me customers will, in sadly large numbers try and game a system. If it will save the money, or get them a free sofa.

The cost of trying to manage that is very high.

I think your idea is good in essence, but I think like a lot of great ideas they sometimes end up in the long grass when you try to implement them practically.

Perhaps there is a better solution to this? Sometimes difficulties can be overcome, and an idea can work in the end with the correct implementation.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xu4vy wrote

Thanks for elaborating. The warranty example is a good one to clarify the difference between the two. The user has no incentive to damage its own device since along with skipping the next payment they will not have a device at all. Maybe a 1 year warranty is only needed with this business model and after that you simply rely on these recurring payments?


spambearpig t1_j9xuf3u wrote

So I was thinking of the scenario where customer buys an ‘X’ and then would be paying annually while it still works. Then they claim the ‘Y’ has broke on it and so don’t need to pay the annual fee.

So does the company take their word for that?

Or do they send someome out to inspect it? (V.Costly)

Does they try and have the product posted? (Can be problematic depending on the product)

I won’t go on and on but it would seem that there are questions that need answers or that yearly fee would be at risk of being undermined in any way it can be.

So warranty or not, after-care service or not, the customer will try and get out of the yearly fee.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xujju wrote

With a one year warranty they can claim it only before the recurring payment scheme starts. After that they have nothing to claim they either pay if the product is still functional or they don't pay and they don't have a product. That leaves the company with half the income if it breaks after the 1 year warranty expires.


spambearpig t1_j9xupxv wrote

I don’t think you quite get me. Problem 1 is they will claim it’s broke when it hasn’t.

How do you prove that it’s broke at all? Might be working just fine.

So they say it broke and then no more yearly fee?


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xuyxe wrote

Ah now I understand. They can verify it once a year before the recurring payment.


spambearpig t1_j9xvfep wrote

Okay so there’s an annual inspection cost built in now and yet trust me, the plot thickens from there on out. Your problems are just starting.

What I’m saying is that an ongoing trust relationship on a large scale is very costly to manage and enforce.

So when you add that model to buying a toaster or something it seems impractical to me.

Cars seem really ideal because a regular official inspection is part of running a car (in most countries), wastage and inefficiency in the auto industry dwarfs tech items and domestic white goods by the mass of material and consumption involved, the costs are high and what’s at stake through unreliability is high.

So as an idea for cars, I like it I think. Maybe worth the hassle there.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xw2ho wrote

Nothing much different than a warranty inspection really. It's just a different model where they have to prove it's working rather than you proving it's not working.


termanatorx t1_j9ynx2z wrote

Just spitballing but even asking them to verify doesn't stop someone from claiming it's broken and just not verifying.

What about reversing the payment system and having them pay premium and receiving a small rebate each year they verify? That would definitely handle the problem of faking that it's broken to avoid fees, and might incentivize people also to repair if broken rather than paying for that and then also paying a fee to use it another year. Just thoughts...


shanoshamanizum t1_j9yobst wrote

The core idea is to have the user rewarding the producer not the other way around. The user has no incentive to break it or fake it because it will get returned to the producer. If it's truly broken both sides lose - the user loses the product, the producer loses potential 40-50% profit over the next 4-5 years.


termanatorx t1_j9yojup wrote

Ooooh. Good you clarified that. It's not clear in your initial post.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9ypsho wrote

It's evolving as we speak and as we discover corner cases.


termanatorx t1_j9yr6ql wrote

Nice. I think return of product if not functional is a great idea. And, you may have thought of this of course, the producer could then refurbish and sell again. I'm thinking of Amazon warehouse deals where products with flaws are sold at discount. I bought something there. Granted it was new and not refurbished, they do also have options to buy refurbished on there I think.


rejiranimo t1_j9xteo8 wrote

Idk, my old iPhone is 7+ years old. It’s perfectly useable and is still being supported with new software updates.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xtovo wrote

Yeah because it's pre-2020 :) It all started going really bad post 2018.


rangeDSP t1_j9xyf3w wrote

Could you elaborate? From my experience the newer phones has been pretty great, much better in terms of both hardware and software reliability than the iphone 5 I had ages ago.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9xykby wrote

My field of reference is mostly laptops where the thin and light competition made them way worse in terms of modularity, repairability, expandability and general reliability.


rangeDSP t1_j9xzp0a wrote

On the subject of modularity, with the waterproofing and USBC, we are seeing the phone/tablet losing hardware features and becoming a "pure" computer these days. I would argue that with gadget/appliance makers putting in Bluetooth/WiFi connection and integrate with a phone app, it's a way of making the phone "modular".

Instead of buying an expensive modular camera part for my modular phone, buy a mirrorless camera with Bluetooth and now that can send photos to any phones

And if someone really want high quality analogue audio, instead of the headphone jack in the phone, they can buy a DAC that's dedicated to doing just that.

Outside of stuff like machine learning or graphics processing, IMO a modern phone don't really need to be updated for a while. With stuff like cloud gaming and other cloud based services being more common place, it's likely that we only need a simple device that's capable of streaming content.

Edit, just saw your comment about laptops. I hold similar views there, I think they are getting to a size that more or less plateaued, there's not much to gain to make them even thinner. Yet I also don't think they need to be modular anymore, when USBC gives you all the expandability. Webcam, WiFi chip, display, even graphics card, plug it into the USBC port and it's done. While any more involved processing would be done on the cloud.


Willing_Signature279 t1_j9yftbm wrote

Check out fairphone and the essentials laptop. Both are modular in design and built with repair ability in mind. It’s not BIFL but I think they have a set of good principles towards product design that resonates in this community


shanoshamanizum t1_j9ykf86 wrote

Still there is no incentive and feedback loop which is the most important part of the model.


Willing_Signature279 t1_ja07r6d wrote

What feedback loop are you looking for? I’m not too sure I understand what you meant


Blueporch t1_j9y3eti wrote

I think there’s an opportunity for disruption in appliances by designing BIFL. They’d likely get a large market share but once the market is saturated with their products, overall sales in the category would drop.

Probably someone in the biz has data on how often appliances are replaced for appearance or new features, rather than breakage.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9y3htq wrote

Modularity is part of making it last.


Blueporch t1_j9y4l8o wrote

Not necessarily. My Maytag washer & dryer are still going strong after 29 years with no upgrades.

But some people buy all new kitchen appliances for the color.


shanoshamanizum t1_j9y4zcd wrote

It's all about having one more option really. Planned obsolescence is a fairly recent trend.