Simplicity

A wall of sound

A virtual wall of the Buddha Machine boxes, looping ambient music in unplanned combinations: Zendesk – FM3 Buddha Machine Wall.

The design of the boxes themselves is also elegant and simple. On/off, switch loop, change pitch, built-in speaker, runs off a single AA battery. I just ordered three…

“Simple Trumps Complete”

That phrase succinctly describes the most important design lesson I’ve learned this year: that focusing on the simple core of a concept is more important than filling out its features.

“Simple trumps complete” – a 5% feature (used by less than 5% of all users) is a distraction for all the other users, and is better removed, unless its really critical (a small number of users do need to cancel service, for example).

I also love the term “attentrons” for the energy people spend to comprehend elements of a design.

Busy and lazy

When I’m lazy, I get busy–my schedule fills up indiscriminately. When I’m busy, I know I’ve been lazy.

A mentor advised that “you have to continually fight off those predators that are trying to eat time away from your calendar.” A woman in Choosing Simplicity said that she wrote “NO” on the top of every week’s listing in her agenda so that she’d think hard before accepting something to do that day.

One technique recommended by author Jim Collins for simplifying your schedule is to create a “stop doing” list.

One year ago I wrote that to be innovative, it’s sometimes more important what you don’t do than what you do. That extends even to removing things that no longer are working.

You have to make room for good things to happen to you.

Desiring what you have not

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.” – Epicurus

“The high-speed rail line between L.A. and San Francisco, will take twenty years, assuming there are no delays. In contrast, the first transcontinental railroad took seven. We aren’t going to build our way out of this highly congested world. It’s going to choke us.” – Kazys Varnelis on the collapse of complex societies

“To own or possess is to monopolize the use of something permanently. Hence the need to possess betrays a degree of insecurity. Possession is a way of ensuring access to whatever it is we want to use or enjoy: we are so anxious that the object be there when we want it that we are willing to insist that it be there even when we don’t want it.” – Philip Slater, Wealth Addiction