The Complex Tasks Of Making Things Simple

Dorothy Sarnoff (1914-2008), the American-born operatic soprano, actress and self-help guru is credited with saying, “Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”

Her words apply quite appropriately to executives’ super busy, highly distracted work lives in mind.

One of the reasons Sarnoff’s words still resonate is because they recognise that whatever we’re selling, promoting, promising or describing must be incredibly attuned to the listener’s focus, interest and level of attention. That requires a commitment to keep things brief, clear and simple.

The simpler the better. If you don’t agree, just consider the case of Apple, which has defined itself as a brand and products company committed to bringing incredibly designed innovations to market that are simple and easy to use for the consumer.

And if you’ve seen any recent product launch by the company, you come away with an appreciation for the complexity of the challenges it takes on in pursuit of keeping things simple for its customers.

The lesson here is that there is often an incredible amount of work and complexity behind even the simplest of ideas and business notions. If something is truly meant to transform a consumer experience, it needn’t be hard to use, even though it may require incredible science, logistics and manufacturing to bring to market.

Yes, the challenge of making things simple – simple for people to understand, to use and to appreciate – is incredibly hard work. But if you can achieve that level of simplicity for customers, at least one company out there would attest that it was indeed worth all the hard work to get there.

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