in Thoughts

Stamina and Simplicity

Yesterday, I’ve read an other chapter of Founders at Work. It was chapter 8 about Evan Williams founder of blogger.com, later twitter.
The story of blogger.com was really tough, especially after all employees and his co-founder left the startup because they didn’t have any money anymore. But Evan stayed and kept up the server and the service. In 2001 Evan started adding some paid-services for blogger. And two years later Google acquired Blogger.com.

“Simplicity is powerful.” – Evan Williams

He showed this with both blogger and twitter.
I think these are powerful ways of doing things: stamina and simplicity. Often it don’t have to be complex. Complexity has some bad side effects. I think everyone who had worked on a bigger project, source code or organization knows this.

“Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien à retrancher.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Translation: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This could be a way to get simple and great (business) ideas. Take your first sketch. Try to make it simpler. If it will remain too complex, maybe you can’t put it into practice. Then try another idea or think harder to make your old one simpler.

There are several pros of simple ideas.

  • Your idea isn’t so prone to small changes
  • You can manage it without 90 people in administration
  • More people will understand (and use) it
  • The chance to survive is higher

“Must I be an inventor?”

The idea is not that important. Google did not invent search engines. Apple did not invent mobile mp3 players. Microsoft did not invent operating systems. So you should/must be an innovator.

Google said “Hey, search engines are great, but the results suck. We need a better search algorithm.”
Apple said “Hey, mp3 players are great, but they are not stylish and easy to use, make them look cool and easy to use.”
Microsoft said “Hey, IBM is looking for a new operation system for their new personal computer, we know where to buy one.” Oops, bad example.

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