Simplicity is the key to successful living


Artist and illustrator Nick Dewar passed away this week. He worked for many different companies from The Atlantic Monthly to Random House, providing insightful illustrations to the interesting words in an article or book. My favorite Nick Dewar work illustrates both my professional and personal philosophy:


Simplicity is the key to successful living.

This is a more professional and eloquent rephrasing of the time tested K.I.S.S. method:

Kiss 19

No, not that KISS –

The K.I.S.S. principle – ?Keep It Simple, Stupid.?

These are both modern interpretations of Occam’s Razor, which states ?entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity,? or more generally, ‘the simplest strategy tends to be the best one.?

So why am I telling you this? Why am I dragging a 14th Century philosopher, Ace Frehley, and a newly deceased Scotsman onto a blog? Because in our fast-paced, high-tech, always-on society, we forget about trying to solve problems with simple solutions. Too often everyone is looking for a new technology or a new way to solve a problem when we can use simpler solutions that require little cost and provide better long-term benefits.

This philosophy speaks to features of products as well. Just because your product has more features does not mean it will meet the needs of your customers. If you don’t feel confident in your understanding of your customers? needs, you have a larger, more fundamental problem than which features to implement. You need to better understand your users, your customers, and yourself. Don’t just treat the symptoms. Keep it simple, and find out what is really going on. And remember –

Simplicity is the key to successful living.

Oh, and also remember that KISS is pretty sweet too!