A key component to delighting users is the focus that comes from simplicity and building something that does more by doing less.
The history of innovation is filled with examples of products that did less than the competition, but performed better over the long haul. Decades ago, radios were powered by large vacuum tubes. They were huge and, essentially, were furniture in living rooms. But, the sound quality was great. The transistor came along and radios could be made out of them instead. They were small. So small, in fact, that you could carry around one like we do smart phones. However, transistor radios sounded pretty terrible. No family would gather around in the living room and listen to a transistor radio. So, the existing radio manufacturers ignored the technology and kept going with the vacuum tubes. Japanese manufactures saw an opportunity and jumped on it, making small, low power, low cost pocket-sized radios. In America, they were a hit. Not with the previous customers (families), but with teenagers who could listen to music on the go. The transistor radio was a lower quality product. It stunk. But, it solved a new problem for a as-yet un-tapped customer. Over time, the technology improved and the companies who had invested in vacuum tubes went out of business while the ones that invested in transistors flourished (SONY for example).
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37 Signals is a company that exemplifies less is more. Their productivity web-based tools sell extremely well and all do much less than the competition. However, what they do do is just what most customers need done. Because they have a smaller toolkit, their products also make it much easier to get stuff done.
A handful of years ago they published their first book, _Getting Real_. In many ways, it’s their manifesto. Read the following sections of it. Once done, reply to this post in response to the questions below.
**Build Less:** p.13
**What’s Your Problem?:** p.14
**Have an Enemy:** p. 21
**What’s the Big Idea?:** p.38
**Hire the Right Customers:** p. 43
**Make Opinionated Software:** p. 46
What four quotes stand out to you? Do you agree with 37Signals? Should software be (in their words) “opinionated”? What’s an example of software/app or website that you use that’s “opinionated” in how it should be used? How so?