Simple or Easy? 🪨

Say you need to move a pile of small rocks from point A to point B. The simplest thing would be to pick them up and move them by hand.

An easier (but slightly less simple) method would be to use a wheelbarrow.

But what if there was a robot that could do the job for you at the push of a button? Simple? No, but super easy, assuming: a) It worked correctly. b) There was not a lot of setup or things to learn. If you had to first learn how to program the robot, it could be a lot more work than just moving the rocks by hand. Thus, not simple and not easy—not worth it.

Unless…you had to move a large pile of rocks every single day. Then it might totally be worth it to learn how to program the robot. 🤖

People talk a lot about making products that are simple. But simple isn’t actually the goal. Technology’s purpose is to save people effort and expand their powers. The simplest thing is to have no technology at all. We have obviously collectively decided that’s not ideal.

Instead of focusing on simplicity, my suggestion is to focus on power multiplication — how easily can one achieve the greatest/most desirable outcome? Simplicity is a great attribute, of course. It makes the mental task of understanding a tool easier. But simplicity in lieu of power is not always worth it, as many complex products demonstrate.

That’s my 🥘 for 🧠 for today. Thoughts?

CEO of Medium, partner at Obvious Ventures, co-founder of Twitter, aspiring motivational speaker 🤸‍♂️