Simple is Difficult for Entrepreneurs


David Cummings on Startups

Many startups talk about keeping things simple, almost like a badge of honor. When trying to solve a problem, present a message, or interacting with a user, complexity is the natural response. Humans, especially engineers, enjoy providing comprehensive solutions that meet the needs of as many people as possible. Or do they? On average, making something simple and good is much harder than making something merely good.

Here are several areas where I’ve seen startups have difficulty with simple but good:

  • Elevator Pitch – More often than not, elevator pitches are too complicated and don’t leave the recipient with a decent understanding of the idea (see Offline Analogy to Describe a Startup)
  • Messaging – Quick, go to five startup sites and read their homepage or most recent press release. How clear is the message? How much jargon and corporate-speak is used? Overwhelmingly, startups struggle with clear messaging.
  • Metrics – Typically…

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