We crave control
I never understood story-based games with million cutscenes and with pre-determined structure on how to play the game and with minimal exploration. I’m just not built that way. I need to tinker, I have to look around and explore the map.
Casinos have bunch of buttons and games that give you the impression of control, that somehow you could change probabilities with your strategies. Imagine a slot machine that just rolls without you having to do anything, that’s lame! I need my magic touch and golden gipsy plan to win millions.
It is the same story with app wizards that guide you through 10 steps to learn the software, with you having zero control, just follow the steps. Same story with schools. Learning is best done by tinkering, by messing with things, by discovering things, by having actual experiences under uncertainty and influences from which you get feedback and adjust.
Subtractive instead of additive
If you have a thing, and you want to make the thing better, consider not stacking other things on top of it. Instead consider subtracting. When we add functionality, it comes with more unknown unknowns and adds extra layers of complexity. Now we have more things to deal with.
If you have a thing, you need to figure what is the essence of it, what is the core meat that provides the greatest value. What is the “eye’s light up” moment. Then you remove all the noise around it, amplify the essence and make it as easy to do as possible.
The original McDonalds removed about everything but burgers and fries from it’s menu, because ~85% of sales came from them.
Instagram was originally named something I don’t remember, but I remember they had ton of functionality before they were instagram. It was a tech hell. They did some research and found out that users were mainly in for the functionality related to photos. It was the essence. So they removed everything else and highlighted the photo aspect of it. They did it really well and the rest is history.
Chindōgu (珍道具) originated in Japan and is characterized by the invention of ingenious everyday gadgets that seem to be ideal solutions to particular problems, but which, in fact, cause more problems than they solve. It is the story of being additive instead of subtractive.
I like to see most things around us as mechanisms. I just like the word. Tiktok is genius if you ask me. They have a mechanism that just nurtures emergent phenoma of people starting memes and that happens at unprecedented rate. It is so easy to jump to a new meme and produce your own content to further amplify the meme. It is freaking genius and it is all based on a mechanism of recommendations, some music and short clips. You make it as easy to do as possible, then have some people on the platform and now you have a feedback loop of more people attracting more people to do the shared thing.
Bitcoin solved a problem of double-spending and now they opened up a possibility of decentralized currency. Spontaneous order is superior to any order a human mind can design. You can see these decentralized systems rocking the socks out of these human designs. TV gets out of the way of social platforms. People are discovering free learning and realizing schools are not all that effective. Cryptocurrency is more flexible than a currency with some banks as middlemen. Capitalism beats the government planning…