Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Simplicity Thesis

  • Think end to end.  Simplicity relates to the entire customer experience, from how you handle pricing to customer support.
  • Say no.  Kill features and services that don’t get used, and optimize the ones that do.
  • Specialize.  Focus on your core competency, and outsource the rest--simplicity comes more reliably when you have less on your plate.
  • Focus on details.  Simple is hard because it’s so easy to compromise; hire the best designers you can find, and always reduce clicks, messages, prompts, and alerts.
  • Audit constantly.  Constantly ask yourself, can this be done any simpler? Audit your technology and application frequently.
The next thing to understand is that simplicity is a relative, moving target. The accelerating speed of innovation ensures that you’re never the simplest solution for long. Any delay in staying ahead of the curve can give way to a new disruptor that brings new efficiencies or creates new elegance because of an enabling technology or social change. Original category simplifiers like PayPal and Intuit have fallen prey to more nimble and disruptive competitors that have taken advantage of their current complexity and weaknesses.

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