Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Industry of Tomorrow # 2: The Simplification Industry

In an increasingly complex world, those who can simplify stuff can have a premium position. Call it the simplification industry. Things are generally simple by nature but over time complexity is added due to scientific and entrepreneurial zeal. Then starts the competition to provide more and more features at the same price point or in order to raise it. That’s when things get out of control.

Look at your TV remote and all the unusual functions it has apart from the basic ones. In order to add more “comfort” for the viewer, marketeers kept adding features to the remote. Now viewers are actually terrified of all the things that a remote can do. By mistake if you press a button, you may create enough trouble for yourself to keep you engaged for a few minutes to undo it. In many cases, you will require “expert” help. In some cases, even the experts can’t help you.

Or consider the panel of a basic landline phone. Earlier there used to be the numbers plus one or two more keys. A landline phone kept in front of me has the following apart from the numbers: *, #, Redial, Flash, M1, M2, M3, M4, Menu, Dial, Prog, and a few more keys that have some pictures on them. I haven’t used any of them in my life and have no need for them either. Of course, such objects come with an instruction manual, but when was the last time you read an instruction manual?

All this is true not just about things but also content, software, education and so on. There has been an increasing bent towards complicating stuff. Perhaps there are people who feel great about doing so. Warren Buffett said, “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.” But complicated things have made consumers’ life hell. The need is to simplify things to their most basic level. Companies that can do so can command the loyalty of their customers. They can actually command a premium despite their simplified offerings. The Google phones that come with pure Android operating system, which don’t have any manufacturer-installed “features,” actually charge a premium. Likewise, those who can explain things to people in a simple manner can expect to have a larger following than those who talk of abstruse stuff, no matter how intelligent they are. 

So, as an entrepreneur, you should pay attention to simplifying your offerings as much as you can. Intelligence applied towards doing so is intelligence well utilised.  

Read the other article in this series at: 
The Industry of Tomorrow # 1: The Privacy Industry

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