The Price is Right is an excercise in clarity Jason 23 Aug 2006

29 comments Latest by Blake P

If you want to see complexity clarified, watch The Price is Right. Tons of games, but they’re all so simple and so perfectly explained in just a few words by the eminent Bob Barker.

The Price is Right is also a great example of creativity born from embracing constraints. Dozens and dozens of variations on a single point: price. Every game revolves around a few numbers. Pick the right ones, put them in the right order, or take one away and you win.

There’s really so much to learn from The Price is Right. Simplicity, experience, clarity, intuition, big type, fun, colors, tone, personality, democracy, audience participation, a little bit of chaos, humility, dings (you win) and buzzers (you lose), educating the consumer, etc. it’s quite a formula. Instead of reading that business book next week just watch the Price is Right instead. You’ll learn more and have a better time too.

29 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Josh Williams 23 Aug 06

So, when will the Plinko feature be added to Backpack?

Daniel 23 Aug 06

Is it really any surprise, then, that “The Price is Right” is one of the longest running game, nay, TV shows in general?

I’m near 25, and my mom was watching that show when she was a child. It’s rare to see something with enough variety and quality to hold the TV-watching populace’s attention so long.

James 23 Aug 06

Googles got it.

James 23 Aug 06

Hey, whats happened to the kiko link/news?

commentKing 23 Aug 06

Whoa, i guess they removed my post…o well.

Pukeface 23 Aug 06

Sweet…now I can save that 19 bucks I was going to spend on “Getting Real” and watch the Price is Right instead. Spread the word, everybody!

David Brunelle 23 Aug 06

And you can get some pretty killer ideas for T-Shirts! I once had the pleasure of staying at a hotel directly across the street from the studio where the Price is Right is filmed. The T-Shirts people were wearing, and seeing how much thought people put in to getting prepared to get on the show was even more entertaining than watching the actual games!

Chris Palmieri 23 Aug 06

Working from home today Jason? ; )

Greg Hoy 23 Aug 06

…and remember to control the pet population by having your pets spayed or neutered.

kev 23 Aug 06

The price is wrong, bitch!

Joshua Kaufman 23 Aug 06

My god, Bob Barker is still alive? That man just keeps going and going and going…

Dutch Rapley 23 Aug 06

The answer Joshua’s post, that’s not really Bob Barker. He died 10 years ago. It’s a robot made in his liking. AI is here and now!

Glen C. 23 Aug 06

Sounds like someone has had a few too many sick days. ;D

pwb 23 Aug 06

Don’t forget: hot chicks.

JF 23 Aug 06

Sounds like someone has had a few too many sick days


Well, most of 37s works at home actually. If I go into the office it’s around 11:30am by the time I get in. DHH almost never comes in. Ryan comes in sometimes late afternoonish, and Sam and Marcel come in in spurts. Jamis and Matt work from home (or cafes) in their own cities.

So there’s always time for The Price is Right.

Aaron B. 23 Aug 06


I have recently started working at home a lot more freqenntly as well. But sometimes I have a hard time separating my personal time from the work time. Do you do anything special to help out with this, or is that not even a problem for you?


Jamis 23 Aug 06

Personal time? What’s that? (heh, kidding!)

I find having a separate room, with a door, helps a lot to draw that line for me. Of course, the kids like to come in and say “hi”, sometimes, but my wife keeps them sherpherded pretty well, so those kinds of distractions are infrequent.

ML 23 Aug 06

If you’re really into TPIR, check out Cam’s post about his visit to the show: Blogs For Bob: My Experience at “The Price is Right”.

Goose-Green Bay 23 Aug 06

Exercise, not Excercise

Michael S. 23 Aug 06

Absolutely right. And most of the games, even today, don’t need much more complexity than gravity or somebody hiding behind the set flipping numbers around.

Basically the same set from the 70’s when I started watching it. Of course nowadays they don’t have the exact-bid winners pick $100 out of Bob’s pants anymore, but there’s no real need to update the show to robotics and computer imagry.

Joe Grossberg 23 Aug 06

“Every game revolves around a few numbers. Pick the right ones, put them in the right order, or take one away and you win.”

Some, like “Plinko”, are purely games of chance.

jon rahoi 23 Aug 06

The real genius of The Price is Right is that the entire thing is a commercial. Every component of every game is a product that they show for the duration of the game and introduce inline, like the radio ads used to. (or like CampFire does.) The reason the show is still around is they must be making money hand over fist. And they actually have the balls to CUT TO COMMERCIAL? The whole thing is already an ad! And we sit at home, with our MacBookPros ($2,499.00) and our bathrobes ($19.99) watching this on our plasma TVs ($1799.99) and wonder why we can’t get anything done. They’re nothing short of the greatest marketing geniuses of all time.

Greg 23 Aug 06

Some, like �Plinko�, are purely games of chance.

Yeah, but the way you win more runs at the Plinko board is by guessing prices.

Yerry Seinfeld 23 Aug 06

Nicely put Jon Rahoi.

Bryan C 23 Aug 06

Barker’s Beauties are still around, though maybe with a lower profile these days. Many TV game shows of the era featured pretty female assistants, so I imagine that TPIR was just following the conventions of the genre. I don’t think anyone’s life ever actually revolved around price comparison, but shopping for household goods and budgeting money are inescapable tasks for most everyone. We all like to watch shows that we can relate to first-hand. The genius was in finding a way to have fun with it.

Mrad 24 Aug 06

Bob Barker is my hero.

Kay H. 24 Aug 06

I also love that all the Price is Right games are physical. Contestants play on big life-size game boards and they’re interacting with the physical world, not just playing games in the mind.

Blake P 24 Aug 06

What? You thought the Barker beauties were on the show just to further their own career? No…….it’s the innovation of the games….