Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Simplicity Thesis

This week's reading "Should You Build Strategy Like You Build Software?" reminded me of another article on strategy and software development I read on Fast Company's blog this morning, The Simplicity Thesis. I thought this post was a nice complement to the article in terms of emphasizing why adaptability and speed are important, but also giving a good perspective on meeting customer needs and understanding potential entrants strengths and weaknesses.

Here's a few snippets I found pretty interesting:

"Any market where unnecessary middlemen stand between customers and their successful use of a solution is about to be disrupted. Any service putting the burden on end users to string together multiple applications to produce the final working solution should consider its days numbered. Any product with an interface that slows people down is ripe for extinction. And any category where a disproportionate number of customers are subsidizing their vendor’s inefficiency is on the verge of revolution."

"Instagram’s billion-dollar acquisition and rise to 40 million users can mostly be attributed to the creation of the cleanest, most elegant, and simplest way to share photos on mobile devices. It could do this by focusing solely on nailing a brilliant experience on a single platform, while leveraging the scale and distribution offered by iPhones."

"Here are just a few ways to get started in achieving minimum complexity:
  1. Think end to end.  Simplicity relates to the entire customer experience, from how you handle pricing to customer support.
  2. Say no.  Kill features and services that don’t get used, and optimize the ones that do.
  3. Specialize.  Focus on your core competency, and outsource the rest--simplicity comes more reliably when you have less on your plate.
  4. 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.
  5. Audit constantly.  Constantly ask yourself, can this be done any simpler? Audit your technology and application frequently."

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