Colin Nederkoorn

Complexity is the enemy

September 11, 2011

Write programs that do one thing and do it well.

  • Douglas McIlroy, inventor of Unix pipes

Entrepreneurs often take a shotgun approach to product design. For one reason or another, you end up with products trying to solve too many problems straight out of the gate. Products with scopes as wide as the mind can imagine. Products that are jacks of all trades, and masters of none.

When you look at the companies that do tremendously well, they often have products with one mission.

These companies build simple products where every feature reinforces that mission. Products like Github, Heroku, Dropbox, Basecamp. They aren’t necessarily simple technically. The value proposition is simple. The message is simple. All of these support each other to make the user experience simple.

Solve one problem for one user in the best way you can. Grow from there.