There is an alarming trend to remove friction from everything we do. We’re constantly trying to make things easier,faster and so simple that we don’t even have to think anymore. Friction provides barriers towards doing things:

– Forcing me to register for a site before I can  push the purchase button. (That’s why people love Social Log-In.)

– Asking people to click on an ad to get the desired information. (That’s why people love to find all the content inside the banner.)

– Pushing me to to finalize the purchase in the store.

In the digital world, friction means your product is dead. Any barrier will lead me to delete your app, abandon the cart, move on. An armada of engineers, designers and UI/UX practitioners work day and night in Silicon Valley to eliminate friction.

Facebook wants us to share anything we do without us doing anything.

Retailers want us to pay with our phone, no credit cards required.

When there’s no friction in the world, there’s no free will.

You don’t have to make decisions, the app does it for you. You don’t decide what to share, Facebook does that for you. You don’t decide to look for a movie outside of your comfort zone, the Netflix algorithm recommends a movie for you. At one point, the world won’t need our decisions anymore. What happens  when we lose the capacity to make decisions and live in a recommendation world?

We’re building our own broadcast stations on the digital channels. We’re following people that are like us, think like us and agree with us. Where are the debates happening? No wonder there’s gridlock in Washington, we don’t even listen to the other side anymore.

Friction is at the heart of change.

We should not try to eliminate friction from our lives. If everything we do in life is easy, life becomes tedious. Arguments are a form of friction. Debate is a form of friction.

Show me a frictionless marriage and I see a dead marriage.

Show me a frictionless society and I see a dead society.

We should remove unnecessary barriers, absolutely.

But we need to continue to have friction in our lives to move ahead, tackle new problems and make this world an even better place.