As I redeemed an iTunes gift card, I stopped for a moment to marvel at what I had just accomplished.

  • Purchased a card at a store not affiliated with Apple.
  • Paid without exchanging any cash.
  • Brought it home and held the code up to a camera on my computer.
  • Instantly, my account was credited with funds.
  • Immediately I could play new music purchased in the computer transaction.
  • And also automatically hear the new music played on my phone.

In reality, buying and redeeming an iTunes card has become old-school and soon will be replaced by 100% streaming, but I still am astonished at the technology that drives it. The thought of such a process was inconceivable when I first started buying music – there were not gift cards, computers, cameras built-in to computers, iTunes, iPhones or wireless (and I’m not that old!)

The next time you make a transaction that seems seamless, pause for a moment to consider all the components that went into making the system possible. Are there pieces of the journey that you could adapt for your organization? As in this example, could you utilize the camera function more than you are? Partner with outside entities to promote or sell your product? Utilize gift cards for services and not just products? Store balances to make future purchases seem “free” and therefore easier to make?

It is a paradox that the easier a system or process appears, it’s likely the more complex it actually is. You’ll know you’ve arrived when, like the iTunes card, your miraculous seems routine.


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