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New Product Creation Cycle: Simplicity to Complexity to Simplicity

When new products are first created, they tend to be simple, and just implement basic functionality.

Then, as the product proves itself in the market, new features are added, and the processes around the product (sales, support, management) grow to handle the new volume of customers.

The product is moving from simple to complex. But, this complexity is fine, because it is adding value.

However, at a certain stage, sooner or later, we let our guard down and we cross over to a third stage: over complexity. Now, much of the newly added complexity is not good, because it is adding minimal or (worse) negative value.

At this point, we need to simplify and clean up.

Lesson: We can't go straight from simple / low-function to simple / high-function. We need to go through the intermediate state of complexity as we innovate and create. The trick is to minimize it and, above all, not to linger in needless complexity.

 
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