This week’s theme is simplicity.
I just finished reading Isaacson’s lengthy biography of Steve Jobs as I’m working on a project proposal about networked learning. Jobs wanted the iPad and iPhone to focus on the multi-touch screen so he only allowed a minimal frame to be designed around each. That makes me wonder:
What is the focus in our organizations and how much can we pare down the frame to let that area of focus shine through?
Now that my appetite for simplicity is growing, I’ve just started Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple by marketing leader Ken Segall:
“As those who have worked with Apple will attest, the simpler way isn’t always the easiest. Often it requires more time, more money, and more energy. It might require you to step on a few toes. But more times than not, it will lead to measurably better results… It needs a champion – someone who’s willing to stand up for its principles and strong enough to resist the overtures of Simplicity’s evil twin, Complexity.
I actively battle complexity whenever I prepare an un-deck presentation for senior management. It takes much longer to create the ‘wow’ factor with one simple, plain-language statement per slide and a corresponding visual from MorgueFile. It’s much easier – and less risky – to populate a lifeless corporate template with pages of bullets that no one will bother to review because you’re going to read it to them during the meeting anyway.
Through Segall’s work and others, I’m discovering that simplicity = elegance and enchantment. Guy Kawasaki is an enchantment champion from the Applesphere as well. Guy recently shared 50 theme songs in under 5 minutes: two guys, a capella, one take, impressive! Some songs were so familiar that they gave me goosebumps. Gretchen Rubin knows what I mean (see her recent post about a Christmas carol) and she describes herself in simple terms when treating herself like a cranky toddler .
Simplicity is found in web rules like “Don’t be a jerk” and communication approaches like “default to share” rather than strategies, frameworks or reams of corporate legalese on the responsible use of social media. I’ll be keeping that in mind as I continue this project proposal…
What simple things do you find enchanting?
“Work for change or change your work” – Stephen Clarke