Quality cannot be standardized

I’m staying at a resort in northern Thailand, there are many activities including encounters with elephants and boat rides to Laos. As I was scanning the list of options, I noticed a rice planting experience:

Try your hand at Thailand’s age-old rice cultivation methods in our resort’s private rice paddy

I haven’t decide yet if I want to try it out, but I’m tempted. What’s ironic about this is that I’m willing to pay to do something many natives get paid to do–make a living.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, value is subjective, but it is a perfect illustration why you should never assume you know what is valuable to your customer based on your own preferences. What you would require payment–or physical force–to do, others are eager to pay to do.

One logical conclusion is that quality is not something that you can dictate, it’s not something you bake into the process, there’s no such thing as a universal standard of quality. Quality to you is not quality to your customer. Quality to your last customer will not be quality to your next customer.

The only quality is that which a customer is willing to pay for. To figure that out, requires listening, research and testing, not industry standards, baseless best practices, and unbridled perfection.