Letter From Kate: Simplifying Information in a Complicated World

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why some businesses want me to understand what I’m buying and some don’t. Here at Studio Kate, we obsess about clarity: our number one job is to help people understand something -- really complicated somethings -- in three minutes or less. We pull out all the stops: moving pictures! spoken word! happy music! sexy graphics! We’re like a TED talk on steroids. We prove it is possible to explain a complicated concept like the dedicated supply chain* in two minutes or less. So I get a wee bit frustrated when businesses deliberately make things complicated. Did I mention I just spent last Saturday at the AT&T store?

I needed a new business phone. I demonstrated to Joseph, a fresh-faced salesperson who’s one of my favorites, how the top third of the shattered screen no longer responded to my touch commands. He smiled and nodded. I really like that. I don’t get that at home. Joseph escorted me over to the wall of phones and pointed to a card littered with numbers smaller than a baby’s eyelash. Joseph explained. Our phone replacement policy has changed. You can get this phone for $25 a month for 26 months. But don’t worry because your rate plan will drop to $15 a month so this adds just $25 a month so your total will be $40 a month so it’s really like you are just paying $260 for the phone and after 26 months it is free and since you are the first from your family plan all of the other data plans will decrease by $15 as well so you will save $75 per month. He paused. Smiled. Nodded.

I started to sense deliberate obfuscation. My eyes narrowed. I’m no fool, but I’m no Sal Khan, either. Insurance companies hit the same nerve in me. So do banks. AT&T needs a TED talk. Actually, let's be clear: they need Studio Kate.



*There’s nothing boring about the dedicated supply chain. See how we explained dedicated supply chain in one minute and 54 seconds with incredibly sexy motion graphics narrated by Mary Kadderly. Go here.