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Insanely Simple

The Obsession that Drives Apple’s Success

By Ken Segall
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Insanely Simple: The Obsession that Drives Apple’s Success by Ken Segall

Insanely Simple talks about the business strategy of keeping things simple. The author hones in on Apple’s inner processes to show us how we can apply simplicity to our work and why complexity can hinder a company’s development. The reader will learn about how Steve Jobs implemented this structure at Apple and upheld it even in the face of critics.

Key idea 1 of 8

People prefer simplicity over complexity.

Have you ever bought a new computer with such complicated new features that you couldn’t get it to work? This type of complexity is a problem in our modern world because humans, just like all other life on the planet, prefer simplicity.

We know that nature doesn’t choose the most complicated way to solve a problem. Rather, it finds the simplest way. In fact, it’s often the simplest species that are the most successful.

Take earthworms for example: they’re incredibly simple organisms, yet they’ve outlived thousands of more complex species.

Simplicity seems to be natural, and as humans, we prefer it when our lives are made as simple as possible.

This can be seen in the way we choose the products we use in our everyday lives: we tend to prefer simple ones over complex.

Product complexity became an issue for Microsoft when they created the Zune Store. Instead of allowing customers to simply pay for a song with their credit cards (as Apple does), customers first had to convert their money into Microsoft Points.

Microsoft’s designers didn’t think about simplicity and, consequently, the Zune Store never caught on.

This shows that, given a choice between a complex or simple way to reach a goal, people will most likely choose the simplest option. Companies that understand this know to make their products as simple as possible.

Apple’s stores are a great example. As soon as you step inside, you’re greeted by a minimalist decor and your options (to buy or repair something) are clearly demarcated. That’s why the stores are so popular, especially in comparison to Microsoft’s stores, which are over-packed with products and offer too many choices.

By understanding the human need for simplicity, you can build enduring business-customer relationships.

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