The Search For Simple

From Insanely Simple by Ken Segall (Amazon, Kindle, Powells):

What makes Apple stand out in a complicated world: a deep, almost religious belief in the power of Simplicity. 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.

I’ve been obsessed with simple the past few years. I get frustrated by computer complexity, business complexity, even personal life complexity. There just isn’t enough time in the day to deal with any of it. (And that has become even more apparent since I had kids six years ago.) I haven’t been able to put a word to it as well as Ken Segall, the author of this book does, but it has been there.

I look at other people’s products, I look at my own products, and get frustrated with everything that needs explanation or isn’t obvious, simple, intuitive.

I bought an Android phone this weekend and its complexity struck me immediately. Maybe some of it is my lack of familiarity with the platform, but its nit-picky way of doing things drove me nuts. Hiding things in a menu drawer, navigating through email, the lack of consistency from app to app. (The hardware is magnificent, simple and responsive.) I love my iPhone (and iPad) for just that reason. I loved my BlackBerry before that for the same reason. And I loved the PalmPilot back in the day for the very same reason.

So this has been my struggle since the dawn of time: how do I make working with numbers simple? powerOne was amazingly simple compared to what came before it. Teachers, students and professionals in all walks of life loved it for that reason. But just as BlackBerry made the PalmPilot look complex and iOS made the BlackBerry look complex, powerOne doesn’t feel so simple anymore.

The evolution continues.