There Is Profit In Simplicity

The complexity of our modern society presses on us from all sides. The degree and speed we adapt, almost daily, is amazing. I know it’s taken for granted but to me it needs to be said... it is amazing. I am reminded of just how simple things were, oh say 10 yrs ago, when I have to navigate between my “reality” of today and the “reality” of my Mom’s today.

Have you tried to buy a phone that is just a phone lately? My Mom needs a new wall phone for the kitchen. It’s not like I am looking to replace an avocado green rotary phone. I just need a hang on the wall phone, period. I find myself searching, really searching hard for good quality “simple” products. Products like a phone that is just a phone, no caller ID, voice mail or programmable buttons; an oven that just bakes, broils and cleans (don’t want to be too simple...). Truly the list goes on and on of “simple” products that I need to keep my Mom’s today functioning. I don’t mean to sound like Mom is stuck in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s or hell even in the 80’s. She is just stuck in the late 90’s and for all the complexity we have digested in our live over these short years, Mom is down for the count. She needs a bridge between the two todays.

It takes a lot of energy and understanding to be the bridge between the two “todays” because of the complexities we accept in our lives, even take for granted. The need for a bridge is less an age thing as it is a mindset. Complexity presses down on us in ways we don’t even notice anymore. Even a short “break” from the adapting mindset will put us on the sidelines and in need of a bridge. In my Mom’s case the bridge is more or less permanent. She has no need to “compete” or “innovate” or “accept the uninvited” in her life. It is a comfortable place to be, well earned, and supported by many who are happy to bridge the distance between the “two todays”. That’s what families are for.

Families to me can be seen as just little societies, small laboratories. There are many in our society in need of a “bridge” to span the complexities of life. Complexities created in the blink of an eye given the speed at which we innovate and compete. We can mark decades with the technology they embodied. The 60’s walk on the moon, the 70’s 8-track tapes (lol... see, not all technology is good) 80’s the cell phones, fax and personal computer. The 90’s brought with it the commercial internet and that is when the hands on the clock began to spin like a bad special effect.

We spend more time at work than at home. We spend more time with our coworkers than our families. I have seen great “bridge” building at work, but I want to see much more. Just the recognition that not all technology is good and some technology that is good is “uninvited” lays a foundation to building bridges. When asked to review software and other technology-based products for law firm operations, I find most often that 70 to 80 percent of the functionality is unnecessary and will go unused. Adding complexity is not the “idea” behind innovation, but it is sometimes the result. Demand “simpler” products that meet the need. Don’t take it for granted that you have to buy complexity and end up “adapting” to cut through to the “simplicity”. Raising your voice is an act of bridge building, not an act of rebellion.

Well, off to e-bay to buy a “simpler” phone. There is profit in simplicity. It’s a rare thing today. The law of supply and demand is in your favor. Raise your voice.