Engaging Culture

The Digital Secret: 0-1-2-3

I had an incredible opportunity a few years ago to speak to business leaders in Singapore at the Eagles Leadership Conference. After my keynote talk, I was able to partner with Lucas Chow, former CEO of the Singapore mobile phone company Singtel Mobile to lead a workshop on how the digital revolution has changed the way we live. During that session, he taught a principle from his days at Singtel that I’ve never forgotten:


Lucas explained that throughout his digital business career, they had developed a philosophy they called: “0,1,2,3”

The explanation is simple:
“0” means no manuals – Remember the old days when we bought a computer, it came with a massive how-to manual? Not anymore. While some instructions are online these days, few digital devices come with any instructions at all. Which means when you design something new – make it simple and easy to understand. Nobody reads manuals anymore, so make sure people can understand your product, idea, or project on their own.

“1” means one button – In this department the iPhone changed everything. Whatever you want to do, it all begins with a single button. Today, people aren’t interested in searching for buttons or trying to understand what to do. Make it easy. Make it simple. One button.

“2” means two clicks – You should be able to find whatever you need in two clicks. More than that, and Lucas said they’d go somewhere else.

“3” means three seconds – If it takes longer than three seconds to find what they’re looking for, they’ll give up. This corresponds with research we did at a major nonprofit a few years ago, when we discovered that the longer a user spends on your website, the less likely they are to donate. So whatever you want your customers, audience, or donors to do, make it simple, easy, and quick.

Obviously you may have fans who will put up with more aggravation and go to more trouble to get your information, but why turn anyone away? Think of the outliers – the ones who are just trying you out. That crowd is your greatest potential for growth, and you want to make entry very easy.

0-1-2-3. Lucas Chow’s advice is on target for the digital age and I’ve never forgotten it. The question is – what projects, products, or ideas are you working on that this thinking could transform?

Start thinking…

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One Comment

  1. Such an easy formula to remember! The formula itself follows its own rules. For Web design, a user judges a website in 1/12th of a second! Therefore, Lucus’ philosophy should play LARGE in developing great Web-based digital experiences.

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