The Simplicity Tradeoff

Last week I was looking at the pricing plans for a startup and it screamed complexity. Tons of plans, tons of upsells, tons of dimensions — it felt like optimizing for the business as opposed to the consumer. Of course, we see complexity on a regular basis (healthcare invoices, etc.), unfortunately making them feel more acceptable.

Instead of having 50 questions on the quarterly survey, have the 10 most important.

Instead of having six pricing plans, have three and a “call for custom” option.

Instead of providing a four page menu, have a two page menu with the best items.

The simplicity tradeoff is worth it.

Yes, some money might be left on the table. Yes, some options will have room for more variability.

Fight the urge to optimize. Fight the desire to add more complexity.

Instead, focus on reduced friction. Focus on higher effort to value for everyone involved.

Erring on the side of simplicity is worth it. Similar to the famous quote, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”, take the time to cut out the complexity and make it simpler.

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