Labrador

Simplicity

Well, it’s a new year and with a new year, comes a fresh set of definitions we will begin exploring together. I took some time away from writing but am coming back strong. I was inspired by someone I met with yesterday to write about this specific word after he asked me what I hoped to see in the business world, in the new year. My answer? I want to see people be less full of sh*t.

When a person’s greatest professional inspiration comes from the likes of George Carlin, Bob Hoffman, and Professor Mark Ritson, there is a clear reason why I would feel this way. But alas, I can see this won’t happen. We will only see more platitudes, people sharing vanity metrics as if they mean anything – it’s insanity. Am I starting the new year being negative though? No, not at all. Because I’m not focusing on these things. Instead, I am going to focus on inspiring even one person, to think differently.

While this week’s word is simple, our focus will be placed on simplicity – the adjective form of the word.

Limitations, masquerading as simplicity.

Indeed, the word simplicity means something is easy to understand or do. But we must also consider the incredible amount of subjectivity that is inferred in this definition. Something can be inherently easy-to-do, like identifying the world’s best chicken parm hero (I mean, come on…Venite in Pomona, NY. No question – pure fact on this one) and other things can be inherently hard-to-do, like finding anything on pop radio worth listening to. In these instances, there are practically no limitations (source: Doordash – search for Chicken parm hero…you’ll find countless options).

In other cases, things are simple to do because we have training and practice. In these instances, there are constant, rampant, obnoxious, inefficient, aggravating, limitations. Why? Well, certainly it is not lost on me that the popular belief is that you can’t please 100% of the people, 100% of the time (sidenote: I don’t believe this but I’ll wait for someone to ask me why). But when you create an environment that aims to solve every problem, you wind up with a world of limitations that become painful to some, depending on their own proficiencies and needs.

It always comes back to food with me

Have you ever made scrambled eggs? It’s relatively simple to do, even if they don’t mean Gordon Ramsay’s standards. I mean, they are likely still edible.

Have you ever made sunny-side-up eggs? Ooooooo…now it’s getting tricky.

Ever hard-boil an egg? Don’t you hate it when you can’t get the shell off and feel an incredible sense of victory when it comes right off? It isn’t a¬†I folded a fitted sheet level of satisfaction you feel…but it is damn close.

How about over-easy? Can you do it without breaking the yolk?

OK…here it comes…have you ever poached an egg?

Catch where I’m going here? How a specific person defines simplicity, is highly personal – being a matter of proficiency, as well as availability.

The more proficient you are, the quicker you can complete most tasks and you can also do so, more easily. The point is that if you set your kitchen up with the right supplies, and a healthy quantity of eggs, you empower any cook, at any level to be able to prepare the eggs in the style they want, at the speed they need to, and without avoidable hurdles.

Martech systems have to give users more control over their experience. It just has to happen. Hubspot is the most guilty in my experience, in not providing optimized experiences. They serve two extremes – total novices, and 20+ year full-stack developers. And in my view, this inhibits their ability to gain even more of the mid-size market that is becoming increasingly more competitive. Overall, I like Hubspot, and like every other person and business on earth, there is always room to improve.

In summary, stop promoting your products as being “easy-to-use” or “simple.” Just because someone¬†can do something doesn’t mean they have the time to do it. And just because I can go into apps like Canva and upload an image without having to concern myself with aspect ratios…doesn’t mean I’m an art director and know which images to pick that will promise the highest level of engagement, for example.