Friday, April 26, 2013

Minimalism Powered Resilience

I thought Seth Godin's latest thoughts on Resilience had an interesting connection to minimalism:

Most of the time, we build our jobs and our organizations and our lives around today, assuming that tomorrow will be a lot like now. Resilience, the ability to shift and respond to change, comes way down the list of the things we often consider.
Here are four approaches to resilience, in ascending order, from brave to stupid:
  • Don't need it
  • Invest in a network
  • Create backups
  • Build a moat
Don't need it is the shortcut to living in crazy times. If you don't have an office, it won't flood. If you have sixteen clients, losing one won't wipe you out.* If your cost of living is low, it's far less exposed to a loss in income. If there are no stairs in your house, a broken hip doesn't mean you have to move. Intentionally stripping away dependencies on things you can no longer depend on is the single best preparation to change.

What a powerful point: simply by having less, you've got less exposure. The concept applies equally well to crap I have lying around the house, as it does to how I build software. If I don't have a "middle tier" of software that exists solely so I can be buzzword compliant, I've got a lot less code to maintain.

By the way, I'm not really in love with the word minimalism in the headline of this post. It's a fairly overloaded word, that can often be taken to less than helpful extremes (Look at me, I only own 100 items!). I'm talking more about striving for simplicity and looking for opportunities to embrace using less.

Read the rest of Seth's article to get more ideas about resilience.

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