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When a system is ripe for innovation, simplify

firefox 100 tabs =  slow

Yes, that’s my browser. It had 100 tabs open at that point in time last night. Those 100+ tabs were accumulated over a week of browsing and not reading what was previously open. Not very productive, and a clear sign of procrastination on my part. The accumulation of un-read tabs is a clear sign, to me, that I need to focus.

I’m pretty sure my laptop can handle another 100 tabs, but what’s the point of having 200 tabs open? I’ll never read them. And that’s the point. At some point in time, when complexity overwhelms us, we just want to reset and start over.

Every system, whether a browser, an operating system, a car, an economy, a person will eventually start breaking down when you keep adding to it. Complexity in the form of used memory, excess features and/or personal problems will eventually lead to its undoing. It will lead a system to become less useful.

The result is a slow browser, a slow computer, an economy that no longer serves it citizens, and people who are not focused and productive. People who are sleeping and waking up with problems that they then take to work. This creates a vicious never-ending loop. Eventually these systems freeze. They get stuck.

When this happens, the system is ripe to be innovated. How? By simplifying.

Now, there are a handful of people who are preaching that complexity is pretty cool. And, that those of us who embrace it are actually pretty smart. It’s an intellectual challenge no doubt, but do we really need to make things more complex? Do we really need to ‘be able to manage complexity’? Is that what we will tell our kids?

Complexity exists, and I agree that we live in and interact with complex adaptive systems, but let’s be honest, how many humans really know what a complex adaptive system is? How many even make the connection that the economy is a complex adaptive system?

Simplicity, is much more powerful because every single human gets it. No need to explain. It just works.

I’m pretty sure that the Google team that created Chrome (their browser) didn’t have a long discussion on how to make the browser more complex. No, they aimed to make the browser much more faster and responsive. They simplified it. They created the anti-Internet Explorer. That was their innovation.

This is exactly the type of mindset we need as entrepreneurs and innovators. To simplify and eliminate complexity.

How? Ask yourself: Does my product or service overwhelm people? Does it overwhelm my mom? If your mom doesn’t get it, that’s your signal.

So go ahead, embrace simplicity. Subtract. Edit. Eliminate. Whatever you want to call it, just make it work.

Ok. I’m out. Need to go back and read all those 100 tabs. Or should I reset and start over?

 

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