The Only Startup Decision-Making Question You’ll Need

Phin Barnes at SneakerheadVC asks whether you can boil decision-making down to a single question. It’s an interesting theory as the question he comes up with is, “Does this help us own more complexity for our customer?”

Every process or task (in enterprise or consumer) has a certain level of complexity — and the most valuable companies are able to attack very complex problems, hide the complexity from the customer and let them accomplish the task in a simple, straight forward way.

This single question lens is the same way I look at which products I use, for example. I want to know that all my photos are in iPhoto, all my events and tasks in Calendar, all my music in iTunes. I don’t want to think long and hard about where to put things. I was saving these Phin Barnes-types of articles, once upon a time, to Evernote but realized that some were in Evernote and some were in Instapaper and some were referenced here on the blog. Instead I started writing every day, referencing all of these articles here at

Back to Phin, this is a very interesting lens in which to look at decision-making. We are confronted with so much information that having a single question to analyze something is so much easier to remember and apply. I love it when complex issues can be boiled down like this.