I’ve noticed a pattern in a few areas of business that goes roughly like this:
Simple –> Complex –> Simple
The first place I’ve noticed this is with website design. When someone is just starting out, they build very simple sites. As their skills improve, they load websites up with more bells & whistles and various features. Finally, as they really understand the purpose of what they’re doing, the sites become more simple again so they can focus on the main thing. Simple, Complex, Simple.
Tech in Meetings
I’m also seeing this with tech in meetings, and this is a transformation I’m personally working on.
When you first start participating in meetings, you bring a notepad. Over time, you introduce a laptop, perhaps a mobile hotspot to keep connected, or maybe your iPad. All of those can be valuable in meetings, and I still use them at times, but whenever possible I’m going back to simpler tech (either a normal notepad or my reMarkable) so I can be more present in the meeting. Simple, Complex, Simple.
The factor that impacts both of those is focus.
If you’re building a website, the focus should be on the goal. Animations, sliders, and other eye-catching things might help reach that goal, but often pull focus away from where it should be.
In meetings, you’re often best when you can focus fully on the others in attendance. There are times when I need my laptop to pull up data or run slides, but eliminating that distraction whenever possible to create a deeper conversation is something I never regret.
The initial “simple” in the cycle is often naivete, but the the final “simple” is focus. Getting over the often unnecessary middle step of complexity will land you in a good place.