Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Keurig One Button Time Machine

I love the Keurig coffee maker.  Seriously, if it talked like Siri, I would marry it. 

But why? There are lots of coffee makers.  I have others sitting in the cupboard.  The Keurig is better because it saves time.  You dump the water in, feed a K-cup to the disturbing Alien mouth, and by the time you've got the milk and sugar, your coffee is ready.

There are two things at work here.  Time and simplicity.  You make a product that has both and you've created magic.
Coffee + Time + Simple = Genius  

Time isn't just money, it's way more valuable than that.  In a recent blog post, Nathan Kontny wrote, "Many businesses create innovation by simply moving time."  (He also writes about the Keurig, which is cool and means I'm not crazy.) 

Kontny makes the point that the time he would have spent putting a filter in a coffee machine and measuring out the correct number of scoops of loose coffee and all that is now shifted to the Keurig people.  They put the right amount of coffee in a tiny plastic bucket that has a filter built in.  You're paying for them to save you time, and for many people that trade is totally worth it.
I'm a morning zombie

The second factor is simplicity.  How many buttons does an iPhone have? (Okay, that's kind of cheating because the touchscreen can have a whole keyboard, but stay with me.) The Keurig Mini Plus model has one button, labeled "Brew." It also has an "On/Off" button, but it shuts itself off in 90 seconds, so you really only turn it on.

Now Keurig also makes their Vue system where you can control the water pressure, the air flow, the brew strength and 50 other things.  I don't want to do all that.  I want to press one button and get my coffee.

Why do cops, soldiers and civilians carry Glock pistols? Glocks don't have an external hammer you have to thumb back, or a switch you have to throw to select "Fire."  It's a one button system.  You pull the trigger, it goes bang.  Simple.  Perfect for when you're under stress, or you haven't had your coffee. 

If you look in the Comments section under the Keurig Mini Plus, the number one favorable factor is "Easy to use."  323 people felt that was the machine's best feature.  217 labeled it "Fast."  (229 also found it "Stylish," but since it already saves time and is simple, style is just bonus points.)

Whether you are looking to buy a new product or make a new product, consider 'time' and 'simplicity' in your design.
What product do you use that's simple and saves time? Leave a comment and spread the word.
Non Anonymous Sources

(Here is Nathan Kontny's blog, which is titled Ninjas and Robots.  I don't know Nate, but he likes Keurig and his blog title is funny.  Here's the Keurig site if you want to join the cult.  I found the pic of H.G. Wells's Time Machine at Immortal Muse, which appears to be about poetry.)


  1. Credit card swiping, especially at the gas pump. No longer do you have to wait behind the dude that is getting fourteen different lottery tickets and is asking the clerk if they have Marlboros…100’s…with filter…mentholated. Good swipe places also include Target and Lowe’s; if it less than $50 the receipt prints out immediately. No more waiting for approval, signing, and then wait for the printout.
    Cordless drills, especially when used as a screwdriver. Holy cow, these things save time! In a recent construction project I had to install some woodscrews that were recessed a few inches deep in the wood. I searched high and low for some attachment that would allow me to use my drill. Finally I had to resort to an ancient device called a screwdriver. Imagine the manly grip strength I would have if I had to screw everything by hand all the time.
    Wompum biscuits. You know the kind that come in a tube; you peel back the paper a bit then womp ‘em on the counter. These flaky delights are as good as anything Mom ever made. Premixed and preformed these also fit the Chimp’s category of simple to use - even in the morning.

    1. Olaf, you totally get what I was saying. Shifting the burden of time to a credit card machine on a gas pump saves you time and saves the guy inside behind the counter time. And it's simple.

      When we look around and spot examples, we begin to see the brilliance of even simple goods and services.

  2. I'd like to point out that under 'labels' for this article are coffe, glock, guns, and keurig.

    Hmmm, eclectic, amusing, and disturbing

    1. Wow, I didn't think anyone read the labels. That's like reading the label on a bag of Pork Rinds or a can of Red Bull.

      But at Chimp With Pencil, we always aim for "eclectic, amusing and disturbing." Heck, that may be our new motto. Thanks!