Less is More

One of the best lessons I've learned recently is about creating value by removing things that you don't need. This might sound like a controversy in our modern world that is obsessed with hoarding things: features in products, possessions, friends in social networks or frameworks and tools.

However, consider this:

  • Apple built an iPhone by removing all buttons except one and putting really restrictive constraints on applications.
  • 37Signals have created quite a reputation by building products that focus on simplicity.
  • Japanese people created beautiful poetry in form of Haiku, that is extremely limited in it's form.
  • Twitter has created wildly popular service by limiting people to 140 characters.

In each of these examples, nothing prevented people from avoiding these limitations and going wild. However they choose something non-intuitive - they discarded everything that is not important and focused on the very core. And then a small wonder happened - they created something outstanding that would be remembered by the others.

This is an extremely valuable ability and skill: to be able to focus on less in order to gain much more. It is about self-control and self-discipline. This is a way of planning the future that looks a bit deeper than short-term hoarding of features, ideas or things.

I'm not asking you to reconsider your current points of view upon the world. However, if you ever come to a crossing point, just ask yourself one of these questions:

  • What if we discarded all frameworks that are not utterly essential for the system?
  • How much would we gain or lose if we discarded half of the features in our system?
  • What is the smallest step needed to solve the problem?
  • What if we try to work smarter instead of hiring more people as the company grows?
  • You can find more interesting questions in Greg's post.

By continuously asking yourself these questions, you might be able to stumble upon precious insights and revolutionary discoveries that otherwise would be hidden by clutter and blurred by complexity.

Simplicity is the most valuable feature. And it is the hardest one to achieve. It's much easier to add code, functionality or technology, than remove. However as we add them, we lose focus, freedom and flexibility. We might be even so encumbered that we would not be able to avoid problem or jump after new opportunity.

More is less. Less is more.

This post actually answers question on difference between CQRS Journey of Microsoft P&P and CQRSGuide. Guide does not try to build consensus or aggregate views of all experts. We don't address all development methodologies, possible terms or technologies. Instead, there is a focus only on selected items that matter to us. This means discarding a lot of other things.

We don't want to do everything at Lokad, we simply don't have resources for that. We just try to focus on a few things that really make difference for us and people. We believe in less. More might come by itself, if it wants to.

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