Never Fear Simple Ideas

Get things done by thinking like a minimalist


October 5, 2023

I love watching content about music composition and production. One of the more thoughtful of these channels is Venus Theory, where Cam talks not just about music but also the production (in both senses) of music.

A recent video talks about the Minimalist movement in music, but quickly pivots to talking about a minimalist approach to creating music. Why? Because he believes that the reason people often start on a new piece but then never finish it is that they’re overwhelmed by the options available to them. They worry about leaving something behind, about not using every single technique and tool in every piece.

His answer is to define Minimalism not as “having as little as possible” but instead as “only using what you need to express an idea.” In practice, he says, that means “being as intentional as possible.” Make sure there’s a reason for everything you do, and that the reason moves you towards the expression of your idea.

Clearly, this only works if the ideas you have can be expressed minimally, so he also makes the point that you should “never fear the simple idea.”

Software Minimalism

Of course, every developer knows that this applies to what we do. Everryone knows rgat we start by producing the simplest thing that could work. We never start projects by thinking about tools, frameworks, and libraries.

Do we…