Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sophisticated Simplicity

This quote from Steve Jobs is one that's been an inspiration to me for some time:
[...] when you first attack a problem it seems really simple because you don't understand it. Then when you start to really understand it, you come up with these very complicated solutions because it's really hairy. Most people stop there. But a few people keep burning the midnight oil and finally understand the underlying principles of the problem and come up with an elegantly simple solution for it. But very few people go the distance to get there.
In other words:
  1. Naive Simplicity
  2. Sophisticated Complexity
  3. Sophisticated Simplicity
It's from the February 1984 Byte Interview introducing the Macintosh.

UPDATE: Well, it seems that Heinelein got there first:

Every technology goes through three stages: first, a crudely simple and quite unsatisfactory gadget; second, an enormously complicated group of gadgets designed to overcome the shortcomings of the original and achieving thereby somewhat satisfactory performance through extremely complex compromise; third, a final stage of smooth simplicity and efficient performance [..]
(From the book Rolling Stones, 1952)

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