It’s cheap and shareable, but is it simple?

Guy Kawasaki was dead on  when he wrote here that the new economics of entrepreneurship are allowing people to build and develop new technologies and platforms inexpensively.  And Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook was absolutely right  in this video when he discussed the opportunities for transparency and real world information to be distributed across different platforms to help people make decisions.

The critical third leg – and massive component of the 2010 web  – is simplification of technology.  The ability to do something cheaply and spread the word can be very powerful, but when you can share it with fifth grade simplicity, you’ve developed something everyone can get behind.

We’re constantly telling our customers how important it is for them to tell their marketing story with fifth grade simplicity.  It’s not that people are stupid; it’s just that they’re busy and don’t have time to absorb complicated messages.

What would it be like if companies treated their customers in the same way when developing their next phone or web platform?  What if things were so simplified that you could show your mom how to use the GPS navigation while you made dinner with her, or what if you could explain to her how to set up her blog with just a few clicks?

When I was a child, I ran DOS 5.0 on my computer, working my way through a text shell and a rectangular box as the mouse/cursor.  My mom had absolutely no desire to join me there. The computer was completely off-limits for her, because she decided it was more trouble than it was worth.

A few years ago, after finally convincing my mom that the Internet wasn’t “all pornography,” we walked her through the set up of her own email account.  Her response? “That’s it?”  Yeah, mom, that’s it.

Email fulfilled Guy’s requirement that the technology be inexpensive, Mark’s ideal that it be widely distributed and my desire for simplicity.  Similarly, Twitter is something my mom can use as well, because it passes those three tests.

What if you ran the tests of cost, distribution and simplicity on the next big thing that you’re developing for mass adoption?

How could you change the world if busy CEOs and ultra-busy soccer moms were able to get behind your product or service because you made it cheap, sharable and simple?

As seen on Robert Scoble’s Building43.com

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