Less is always certainly more

It’s enough to make you just a little jealous. This week, 17-year-old British entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio sold his app, Summly, to Yahoo! for a reported $30 million.

That’s $30 million. At 17 years old.

Of course, he’s not going to see all that money given the number of investors in the company, but it’s a hefty sum for a teenager who hasn’t reached the legal drinking age.

If you haven’t checked out the app, then you really should. It’s a nifty take on the way we acquire and aggregate news sources and focus on what’s most important. Instead of just showing you every single article like an RSS reader, Summly uses an algorithm to determine which parts of the article are most important, then creates a 400-character summary.

It’s neat. And apparently Yahoo! thinks so too.

And it’s little wonder, really. Summly is a great example of less being more. The interface of the app is bare-bones as well: just bright colours, nice photography, and nothing else getting in the way. It’s a good example of how apps are now being designed; thanks to the influence Apple’s minimalist ideology has had on graphic design.

Yet it’s not all thanks to Apple. Over the past five years we’ve seen a real “cleaning up” of the internet. Websites are getting rid of clutter and online businesses are just focusing on the bare bones. If you visit an online retailer, you don’t want a whole bunch of useless junk thrown in your face. You just want a nice, clean interface.

It’s amazing how many Australian businesses don’t realise that yet.

Visit a handful of retail sites, or even just normal business sites, and you’ll be met with a sea of clutter. It’s off-putting and, I’d wager, is losing them sales.

What’s funny about this is that in any other aspect of the business, entrepreneurs don’t like clutter at all. You wouldn’t take a resume that’s filled with useless information, would you? So why is your website filled with junk?

Take a hint from the world’s newest millionaire. Less is more. In all aspects of your business.

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