Simply Simple

For some reason, we as humans complicate things. We reject the notion that something can be incredible simple but still very important or effective. It's as if we need things to be complicated to believe that they are valuable or worthwhile. Perhaps it's our education system or the news or a psychological belief we've adopted to pacify ourselves. I don't know when it started. It was implanted in me at too early of an age so I don't remember.

It's ok that I haven't achieved this goal or been able to figure this out. This is really hard. It's complicated. There is no easy solution. We thoroughly convince ourselves this over and over again.

I want to lose weight, but it's really hard. I want to be in a loving relationship, but it's complicated. I want to get out of debt, but there is no easy solution. I want to be happy, stop drinking, get a promotion, quit my job, find more time to read. But I can't.

We say we want to do things, but we don't want it bad enough. And that's the problem. So we come up with a solution of complicating things.

Stop with the complications

  • If you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. Simple.

  • If you want to be in a loving relationship, find someone you enjoy spending time with, and spend time with them.

  • If you want to get out of debt, stop spending money on stupid shit.

  • If you want to be happy, figure out what makes giggle like a child and do that.

  • If you want to stop drinking alcohol, stop drinking alcohol.

  • If you want to get a promotion, walk into your boss's office and ask what it will take for you to get a promotion.

  • If you want to quit your job, walk into your boss's office and peacefully explain why you are quitting.

  • If you want to find time to read, stop playing candy crush and read. Through the amazing powers of technology, that same device that allows you to get a new high score on level 287 also allows you to every word of every text ever written. You chose what app you open. No one else.

We can complicate every one of those solutions if we really want to. But we don't have to. The choice is up to us.

I know it's my choice, but I just can't do it. I can't lose weight. I've tried everything. I'm big boned. Diets don't work for me. I exercise, but nothing happens. It's complicated.

Those aren't complications as much as they are just excuses. By saying that, it must mean that no one who was over weight ever figured out a way to lose massive amounts of weight. No one. Ever.


We are wired to believe that simple solutions can't be the best one. If it were really that simple, why wouldn't I have done it already. So we invent complexity. I've given up on trying to properly attribute quotes, because no one knows who actually said what first 50, 100 or 5,000 years ago, but I think it was Einstein who said it best:

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

That is an incredibly simple statement that we will try to complicate. It is at the heart of everything we build at Firehawk. The simple solution is often the best. The simple UX is almost always the most intuitive. The feature set for phase 1 should be simple; focus on one thing that you can do better than anyone else on the planet.

I battle founders on this all the time. Simple works. There's a reason why no one's been able to kill Craigslist. There's a reason why Twitter and Snapchat and YouTube and Tinder and Seamless and WhatsApp and Instagram have been so successful. Simplicity. For each one of those, it's so incredibly easy to identify how simple their solution is. Twitter: 140 character messages. Snapchat: exploding messages. YouTube: upload & consume video. Tinder: swipe left or right. Seamless: deliver my food. What's App: instant messaging.

Instead what I hear is: "I want to beat google search by combining Pinterest and Instagram." I'm exaggerating a little, but not much.

If you want to build something incredibly useful and therefore incredibly valuable, stop forcing everything to be so complicated. Come up with the simplest solution and you will win.