Alexander vs. Murphy
And why simple is sexy
Everyone, especially pessimists, knows Murphy's Law - what can go wrong will go wrong. This is relevant in business because all of us are always going back and forth between doing things we want to do and putting out fires when things go wrong.
The hell many of us find ourselves in is spending our lives putting out bullshit fires rather than focusing on what we're best at. This is the problem with complex businesses. Complexity, whether in the form of business models, product and service offerings, technology stacks, or employee count, increases the number of things that can and will go wrong.
The smaller the businesses we run, the more relevant this problem is. Us small entrepreneurs can’t afford complexity the same way well-resourced businesses can.
But, as is the case with many ideas, there is inverse idea that is equally true. In the case of Murphy’s what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong Law there is an obvious inverse that doesn’t get attention.
What can't go wrong won't go wrong.
I'm not sure if anybody has claimed this idea, but if not then I'm calling it Alexander's Law. Let’s take it out for a quick spin.
You can't fall off a motorcycle if you don't ride a motorcycle. You can't get into a lawsuit with your business partner if you don't have a business partner.
You can't get evicted by a landlord if you don't have a landlord. You can’t have issues with a manufacturer if you don’t have a manufacturer. You can't waste your time with terrible clients if you don't have terrible clients.
The point of this seemingly pedantic mental exercise is to demonstrate the most elegant answer to the question "what to do about risk?"
Simplicity is the state where few things can go wrong because there aren’t many things that can go wrong. To simplify is to reducing the number of stuff that can go wrong. Think of it as reducing the surface area of disaster.
In business that can mean a lot of things. Maybe it’s less (or no) business partners, fewer clients, a business model that has to satisfy less people, simpler product and service offerings, or fewer employees.
The less things that go wrong, the less bullshit you have to deal with. The less time you spend dealing with bullshit, and the more time you spend doing what you want to do.
When it comes to risk nothing is more elegant than simplification.
Simple is sexy. Simple is safe. When in doubt, keep it simple.
Subscribe for more micro doses of Survival First!