On Simplicity

Business is as much of an art form as a science. Sure, you can succeed relying only on knowledge of numbers and data. But the titans of industry who truly rise to the top are the ones who embrace creativity. The best example of this is Steve Jobs. His fusion of business and the humanities allowed Apple and Pixar to not only profit, but truly define American culture.

One of his signature ideas was to “add by subtraction.” When he was trying to improve upon an Apple product, he didn’t instruct his designers to add more bells and whistles. Instead, he asked “what can we eliminate, without compromising the product’s function?” This led to countless innovations: phones without on/off switches, products without instruction booklets, an iPod without a screen. He knew that user-friendliness was more important than flashiness.

This counterintuitive approach to design is shared by Detroit vs. Everyone founder Tommey Walker. He puts his unique spin on drawings by removing their unnecessary elements. Even if you are not a designer, your business can likely benefit from simplification. Look at your product, your organization, and see if there is something that can be removed. If you eliminate it, you may emerge stronger than before.

before you get back to work...

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An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
— Charles Bukowski
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