Complex vs. Simple

Steve Jobs had a mantra that defined Apples recent blockbuster products…keep it simple.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, of Amazon follows the same ideology.  Their companies easily lead their industries and are very profitable as well.

So, why do other businesses, and individuals, work so hard to make their business so complicated … and therefore usually unprofitable?

This “complex and unprofitable” vs. “simple and profitable” was on full display during our family vacation this fall.  Upon arriving at the check-in counter for our 6:00am flight (we were the only people at the counter) the Continental/United Airlines representative asked us to use the automated check-in machine as she stood behind her counter doing nothing else but watching us try to use the automated check-in machine.

My wife repeatedly tried to get “the machine” to read our passports, to no avail. I finally turned to the attendant, who by the way was still just watching us, and “politely” asked her (my children still disagree with my interpretation of the term “politely”) to either take care of our check-in behind the counter or make “the machine” work now.

Once she untangled herself from her coffee and came around to study “the machine” she immediately diagnosed the problem: “the machine” and the system take a while to get online in the mornings so please be patient (right).

Again, I “very politely” asked her why she wanted us to use the machines in the first place if they were not online and reminded her that we had a plane to catch which motivated her (probably too strong of a word) to process our reservations herself.

Most of us know the history of the airline industry where bankruptcy’s have become a vehicle to refinance their business.  The latest example of this being American Airlines.  I am constantly amazed how they make things complex vs. simple and I have no doubt it is one or the reasons for their financial malaise.  I am sure in the near future machines will be the only check in option we have as consumers.

How about you? Do you have a story of Complexity over Simplicity?

Check in for my next blog to see another example Complexity over Simplicity that was on full display on our flight home.  It is an example that Southwest Airlines (the one profitable US airline) is leveraging for all it is worth … and laughing all the way to the bank.  In the meantime … Keep it Simple.

About Nathan Teegarden

Nathan is a Master Coach and Founder of True Calling™. After 16 years in the corporate world Nathan found his True Calling™ as a coach and consultant focused on maximizing individual potential. Now, 14 years later he has helped thousands of clients nationally and internationally, to discover and fulfill their TrueCalling™.


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