Well, Because We’ve Always Done It That Way! That’s, Why

by Anthony Demangone

Change is difficult.  With everything going on, I have a hard enough time finishing tasks that I want to do, let alone a new task that is dropped on my plate.

But can this fear of change, or our comfort with things as they are, cause delusions?  Perhaps.

Look at this story (Blogs.HBR.org) about English newspapers. Freek Vermeulen highlights how an entire industry convinced itself that an outdated practice was the right course.

For many decades, newspapers were big; printed on the so-called broadsheet format. However, it was not cheaper to print on such large sheets of paper — that was not the reason for their exorbitant size — in fact, it was more expensive, in comparison to the so-called tabloid size. So why did newspaper companies insist on printing the news on such impractical, large sheets of paper? Why not print it on smaller paper? Newspaper companies, en masse, assumed that “customers would not want it;” “quality newspapers are broadsheet.”

When finally, in 2004, the United Kingdom’s Independent switched to the denounced tabloid size, it saw its circulation surge. Other newspapers in the UK and other countries followed suit, boosting their circulation too. Customers did want it; the newspaper companies had been wrong in their assumptions.

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