Keep It Simple

This is part of a series of posts discussing the 5 Values of The Oak House.  You can see all the posts by clicking here.

Simplicity has long been valued in various applications.  It is so valued in the military they developed an acronym for it; K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).  KISS was design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960.  The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple and not made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase is associated with aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson (1910–1990).  The term “KISS principle” was in popular use by 1970.

Occam’s Razor could arguably be the first scientific application of the KISS principle.  It pre-dates the use of the KISS acronym by about 600 years.  Occam’s Razor says simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable.  I have also heard it stated, “the simplest solution is usually the best solution.”  I have found it to be true more often than not.

Occam’s Razor is the third principle at The Oak House.  Keep It Simple: We believe the simplest solution is usually the best solution.

We tend to confuse the words easy and simple.  We also tend to confuse their counterparts, hard and complicated.  Just because something is easy doesn’t mean it is simple.  Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it is easy.  Same is true for hard and complicated.  Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it is complicated and just because something is complicated doesn’t mean it is hard.

Here is a good example.  Deadlifting 600 pounds isn’t complicated. You squat down, grab the bar, and stand up.  It isn’t complicated but it sure is hard to do.  Driving a car is easy. but it isn’t simple.  There are many complicated processes happening all at once to make sure you get from one place to another.

We chose this value because when you complicate anything, you build up the barrier to entry.  Be it relationships, design, community, or technology.  We don’t want to do things that are complicated.  A perfect example is our TV’s.  Each conference room will have a TV in it.  We discussed putting in an Apple TV, Chromecast, and a HDMI access port to give people options on how to connect to the TV.  We quickly realized we would spend more time playing tech support than actually doing anything else.  So we simplified the options.  Every TV will have a HDMI input option available to the guest.  The Oak House will keep a supply of various connectors and adaptors to HDMI for guests to borrow.  It is the simplest solution to the problem.

Simplicity is key to quickly building anything.  We want to make The Oak House as simple as possible so we can build the best community.

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