It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery
One idea kept coming back to me throughout these months. An idea of how removing product features, we all take for granted, something we all used to, opens up new opportunities. Think about it:
Snapchat removed persistence from messaging. “Disappearing messages?! Oh, that’s stupid!” — most people exclaimed. Well, except that it opens up new authentic ways of communication, without being too self conscious and obsessing about every single photo or message (like we do on Instagram).
iPhone. On the eve of Apple’s announcement of iPhone 7, I was having a heated debate with folks from Dojo Bali about phone industry. One of the guys was claiming that no new phone introduced to the market will be as exciting as what Apple used to put out in the early iPhone versions.
Me: “Well, so what the next exciting phone will look like?”
Him: “The next exciting phone is a no-phone”.
Surely you are joking. But it’s true. The next exciting technology will solve all the problems that smartphones solve and it won’t be a phone. Direct link to cerebral cortex perhaps?
Cherrypick removed chat and photos from their dating app. What’s the point of a dating app without being able to talk to a person you’ve matched with and ability to view your match’s pictures?! They replaced pictures with one video-profile. And replaced in-app chat with events, that both you and your match are going to anyway, so you can meet and chat in person. Pretty awesome!
When you remove features, you remove limitations. Removing limitations enables new capabilities. It enables qualitative progress, not just an incremental improvement that you achieve by adding more.
What else should be removed?