Simple doesn’t just sell, it sticks. Simple made hits of the Nest thermostat, Fitbit, and TiVo. Simple brought Apple back from the dead. It’s why you have Netflix. The Fisher Space Pen, the Swiss Army Knife, and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual are some of our most enduring products. All are marvels of simplicity.
Yet while many mechanical marvels of simplicity remain true to their original form, most electronic ones do not.
Travel back in time to use your parents’ first microwave and you’ll likely see a box with three buttons (High, Medium, Low) and a timer dial. By contrast, one of LG’s current models boasts 33 buttons. Do I hit Auto Defrost or Express Defrost? And what the hell is Less/More? None of these make my popcorn pop faster or taste better. And it’s not easier to use. Why do products become more complex as they evolve?