Simplify - Part 2

Some further thoughts on simplifying life

📅 12 Jan 2022

As part of an ongoing thought stream on simplification, I wanted to expand upon what I wrote here.

This morning I did something interesting: I wrote out all of the numbers of my family members.

This wasn’t an exhaustive list, just my immediate family. But it helped illustrate the most basic knowledge when it comes to what I have on my phone and computer.

Sure, bank stuff is important as well as a few other things, but if my phone and laptop both died and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere, phone numbers of my loved ones are top of my list of priorities.

I also wanted to expand upon something that I hinted at but didn’t expound upon: ecosystems and switching costs.

Ecosystems are the enemy of simplification. They inherently create switching costs, unnecessarily complicating life.

In the business world, switching costs do two things: they encourage customers to stick with you and they discourage competition. If you are a company trying to enter an industry that has inherently high switching costs, you are facing a big uphill battle. Likewise, if you are a customer using a product or service with high switching costs, good luck.

Ecosystems are great in that if you stay within the walls, life can be pretty good. The easiest example is Apple. They have created an ecosystem envied by many. And it works. If you are an Apple die-hard, why would you ever switch? But if you ever want to, have fun.

Sure, there are a lot of people out their, God bless them, that have made tools to make transitions easier, but it only helps so much. And those tools alone introduce yet another level of complexity.

Interoperability has to be the name of the game. We have known this for centuries and for some reason we are letting ecosystems rule.

Another example is Volkswagen. I know there are probably some die-hard Volkswagen fans out there, so I’ll be gentle, but seriously, what is the deal with the hub lock? I had a neighbor at my old house who unfortunately had a flat tire. I would have loved to help them but guess what? They couldn’t find the hub lock key. So they were out of luck and I just had to stare at them. Interoperability would dictate that the hub lock either wouldn’t exist or every car manufacturer would have the same one. I don’t even know if it’s called a hub lock but hopefully that makes sense.

Neither one of the above are perfect examples but I think you get the point.

As I simplify life, I am trying to avoid ecosystems at all costs. They may make life easy in some ways, but they unnecessarily complicate nearly everything.

That was a bit of a word vomit. Please forgive me.


Day 97: #100DaysToOffload

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