The KISS design principle is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid.” The idea is that most systems work better when things are kept simple. I agree and that is why I think targeting a wider audience increases your chances of success. I’m all about making things simple.
Have you every heard of IoT or Internet of Things? What the hell does that mean? There are about 5% of the people who get jazzed about techie things like that but for the rest of us it makes no sense. It is confusing. The majority of the market needs a simpler explanation. Wearables, Hearables, and Nearables maybe gives this market a better description. This would make sense to my parents. Side note, I always use my parents as a barometer. If they can understand then I have simplified it enough for everyone else. By the way if you have a product or app you want to test, let me know and I’ll run it by my parents.
The iPhone and the rest of Apple’s products are not widely successful because of anything drastically different. They just do a better job than everyone else in targeting the other 95% who understand simple. There is a reason Apple products do not allow access to the internal hard drive or allow much customization. They know most people do not need this access nor do they care. Keep it simple. It works. What is lost with Apple though is how complicated it is to build phones and tablets. How complex the internal hardware and software is to provide a seamless experience. Yet that is not is important. The user matters. The 95% user understands simple.
Sure you can have a niche product in a niche market. I get that. I believe your odds are better as a niche product in a wide market.
Focus your energy initially on the 95%. They will tell you if your idea is a hit. An argument can be made the 95% do not know what they want. Steve Jobs was known for believing this idea. I agree to an extent. Most ideas are not as revolutionary as an iPhone. Most people do not have the panache to dictate terms like Steve Jobs. I suggest initially target the 95%. Be also prepared to dive deep for the those who want the nitty gritty details.
Clear The Fog
Once you begin to think about making things simpler, it seems the fog has lifted. Things will instantly become clearer. Communication improves. There is quite a bit of discussion around minimalism. The idea around minimalism is to live without excess. Reduce the clutter from your life. That is essentially the concept behind keeping things simple. Some minimalist take it to the extreme though. You don’t need to live our of a garbage bag. Focus on what is it you really need. Do you really need to have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and cable? Why not just pick one or none. Do you really need to setup Slack (messaging tool) right away as you start your business. Email works just fine. Build a strong foundation first. Then add the fancy paint. You may not even know it but adding all these extras actually are more distracting then helpful. There is a time and place for extras.
- Get Email
- Get a Website
- Get a email marketing tool
That is a nice easy start. All of those can be done with minimal cost or free. Focus on the idea first.
See I just saved you thousands of dollars on a gym membership. Cancel it today unless you pay less than $20/month. You can do that in your living room with your kids running around or while watching Game of Thrones. Anything else is unnecessary extra. I could do this all day.
The progression is when you focus your idea into more simpler terms comprehension increases. You will be able to filter out any unnecessary junk. Then I believe you begin to master the subject, idea, business, anything.
What you are left with is the ability to push the boundaries. You will have established a solid foundation. The difference between good and great players is the great players keep pushing the limits.
What Is The Point?
The bottom line is whether you are developing a product, establishing a business, building a website, nutrition, fitness, etc, start with keeping things simple. Your UI should be easy to use. Marketing material should be clear and simple. Sales presentations should be simple. They should not look like datasheets.
I believe building on a clear and simple mindset will lead to a strong foundation. A strong foundation to build on. A strong foundation will open you up to take more risks. This mindset will help you get through the tough times in your business. You’ll have a philosophy to lean back on when faced with a difficult decision. The 95% understand simple.
Keep it simple.