Joel Spolsky recently pseudo-attacked simplicity. I say pseudo because he makes great points and is only really down on being totalitarian about simplification.
Expressing simplicity is not always simple. What some call the simplicity cult have attempted to boil down good strategies for making things easy. The problem is that this can lead to generalizations that are misunderstood.
37Signals is a company with simple, lean products. They preach “less software,” but that doesn’t mean they never add features. As I’ve been noting in my Laws of Simplicity series, it’s a balancing act. There is no perfect approach.
What works for bootstrapping, I believe, will not work as a good long term strategy, because there’s very little to prevent the next two-person startup from cloning your simple app, and because eventually you can’t fight human nature: “The people want the features,” says Norman. Just because handheld video was perfect for Blair Witch, doesn’t mean every Hollywood blockbuster will use it.
Again, I think this is just a misinterpretation of what it means to be simple. It also assumes that it’s easy to do something simply. A lot of people try and fail to copy the success of simple products. It’s hard to copy the balancing act. Having already achieved the difficult task is an advantage.