This article by Jason Fried in the latest issue of Inc. immediately caught my attention. His columns are usually pretty great, and this one is no exception. He discusses the temptation to keep adding things and features and bells and whistles to your website or product.
Future versions are loaded with more and more stuff. Nothing pushes back; nothing says no. And eventually, the product or the site becomes unmanageable. It’s too big, too slow, too confusing, but it’s still all subjective. [But] Software can’t overflow. It has no edges, so it can never be too big.
Guess what? It can.
The only way to stop this perpetual growth of an object without physical borders is for you to create your own borders. Those borders are discipline, self-control, an editor’s eye for “enough.” The ultimate border is one simple word: no. Someone in charge has to say no more than yes.
If the laws of physics govern the physical world, the word no governs the virtual world. “No, that’s one feature too many.” “No, that’s just not worth it.” “No, no, no.”
Who tells you “no”? If you hire a branding company, a marketing firm, or a web development person, let them tell you “no” and do what they say. They know what they’re doing (assuming you didn’t make a mistake in hiring them). They’re trying to make your brand or product or company better. Let them. Please.
Fried’s advice? He continues:
And that’s the key to it all. No is easy if you say it early. It’s a lot harder to say it later, because it’s usually in response to something you already said yes to. This is where things get hairy.
When was the last time you said “no”? When was the last time you considered the minimum of what it takes to get the job done? Have you ever streamlined to offer a more focused product that worked better instead of just adding stuff because you like it?
Say “no.” Keep it simple. And beautiful. This makes your “yes” even more powerful.
Photo Credit: Afroswede