Why simple ideas normally have complex implementations

Why do most simple ideas end up becoming complex implementations?

First off, I should simplify the question. Ideas are always simple. That’s why every business idea must be accompanied by the elevator pitch – 60 seconds to get your idea across from beginning to end. When ideas start feeling complex, you’ve left the comforts of Idealand and actually started thinking about the implementation. “Big idea” guys stop here partly with the excuse that it’s not part of the big picture, and partly because the real picture trying to come into clear focus is a bit…blurry.

So, the real question is, why do most ideas end up becoming complex? Once you dig into the details, new questions, edge cases, and confusion arise. An idea that hasn’t been thought through has little chance of surviving Complexityville at this point. Rather than rethinking the idea altogether, the usual mentality is to work through the problems with head down and blinders up. Decisions are made, features are added all for the sake of sparing the sanctity of the Big Idea. Then complexity festers.

In the odd event, that an idea actually has a simple implementation, there’s a whole other problem. An idea that’s easily implemented is rarely considered a “big idea” at all. If it’s simple to build, it must not be a good idea. Truly simple ideas seem inferior. Businessmen, venture capitalists, and angel investors don’t throw millions at these kinds of simple ideas for two reasons. First, they throw money at superlatives – innovation, cool, cutting-edge – often times just other ways of saying an idea is complex enough to be worth its weight. Second, simple implementations don’t seek investors, they seek implementers. Just build the damn thing.

The fortunate/weird reality is, simple executions win alot of the time. People like things that are simple to use. No one likes things that are hard to use.

Yet, when the tables are turned, the temptation to conjur up hard-to-implement ideas usually wins out.