In consulting there’s a saying that customers often ask for faster horses, not knowing they really want a car. In other words, they don’t know what the ideal solution looks like, and smile at anything that looks like progress. This supposedly comes from a Henry Ford quote:
If I would have asked customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
I think this might be happening with Coin—a fascinating new way to combine multiple credit cards into one physical card.
Horse vs. car
The faster horse in this instance is the ability to to combine multiple physical credit cards into one. Without question this is an improvement (and I’m probably going to try it out) but it’s not disruption.
Disruption in this space comes from another concept, which is removing the need for the swipe in the first place. Square Wallet, for example, let’s you walk up to a counter with your merchandise, tell them your name, and you’re done.
No swipe. No signature. Nothing.
That’s true progress, and compared to this Coin is simply a better way to do things the old way.