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Simplicity

They laud simplicity because they do not understand it.

If you show it to them, they will recognize it.

Let them ask for it, let them pay for it.

Just don’t ask them to do it, because they do not know how.

That’s where you come in.

What is simplicity?

Simplicity is not about less.

To simplify, do not eliminate for elimination’s sake. Do not take away features, remove buttons from the screen, go to less meetings, seek fewer friendships, give away possessions, let go of employees, and shut down programs. Less, for the sake of less, is not more.

Simplicity lies on the other side of complexity.

Simplicity is arriving at a conclusion that in retrospect, appears inevitable.

Simplicity is not minimalism. Simplicity is perfection.

And what is that?

Perfection is attaining the sort of completeness that would not benefit from either subtraction or addition.

“Perfection is refinement applied to a standard”, my father recites. He learned it studying architecture - received wisdom from Le Corbusier or some such Great.

Refinement applied to a standard:

“This manufacturing precision extends to how these many pieces seamlessly come together. The inlay of the product is matched to the housing through a highly sophisticated process. With the part on a conveyor, two high-powered cameras take pictures of the housing. An instantaneous analysis is done, and then the best match, out of a possible seven-hundred and twenty-five cuts is determined. The variances from product to product we now measure in microns. We believe that going to such extreme lengths is the only way that we can deliver this level of quality.”

Jonathan Ive

Measured in microns. The printing of millions upon millions of flawless, identical copies of such an advanced product is a feat that is truly one of our civilization’s greatest accomplishments. Yet hold it in your hand, put it in your pocket, FaceTime with your grandmother - it is simple.

Problems are not simple. Problems are complex. Problems are big. Problems are vast. Problems are daunting. The harder the problem is, the more worthy of a solution it will be, and yet, the more frightening.

Simplicity should not serve as an excuse for hiding from the problems that need our best work.

Albert Einstein achieved simplicity. He dared to unravel the mysteries of the universe. He arrived at E=mc².

If you wish to pursue this version of simplicity, there are no shortcuts.

If the problem is worthy, and you believe in your ability to solve it…

Do the work.

Don’t be afraid to expand - expand the budget, expand the timeline, expand the problem set.

Go deep. Go broad.

Go the long way round.

 
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