Have you seen the new IBM marketing campaign? Simple Drive-through Whole page spreads in national newsprint. Outstanding creative behind a classic American brand. And the message? SIMPLE – from a company with more complex solutions than most of us can imagine.
SIMPLE is not new. It is common sense. And it has been around since the beginning of business. Peter Drucker wrote about Simple in the 1950’s. I listened to Bill Jenson (Simplicity – The New Competitive Advantage ) at a Fast Company Real Time conference. His whole approach seemed right about stripping away the complex to focus on what was important in business – any business. Clarity of purpose is Simple. Very hard – but Simple nonetheless.
Simple is stripping away the old (200 channels and nothing on) with personalized info (Tivo). Simple is not spending 2 years writing requirements for an application, but using faster tools and processes to deliver an application that just does one thing well (iPod, Palm, Basecamp, Blinksale examples). Simple is applying the right people to a task and focusing only on core competencies. For individuals and companies alike.
In today’s web development world, simple is more like the Hollywood movie studio model. Bring in the best talent for lighting, editing, acting etc. and then release them when project is done. Simplify down to what you do well and focus on it. Common sense.
In Jack Trout’s book The Power of Simplicity , he quotes Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. as the CEO of General Motors in 1944 telling Peter Drucker to only put down “what you think is right” in his consulting report on the great company. Simple guidance for any consultant. We should all strive for this simple target.
“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson