Years ago, I decided I would cut the cord and cancel my cable subscription. The intent was both to save money, but also to gain simplicity and get a better variety of shows.
It seemed like a great idea, to cancel a service that forced me into a set channel plan, and spend less money, paying only for the things that I actually enjoy watching. The details ended up being far more complicated than I thought, and I ended up with an arrangement of services, devices, and a small server which together provided an acceptable array of content to watch, with great quality, and in every room with a TV, or on any device. But the experience wasn’t the greatest one, requiring a quite complicated sequence of button presses on more than one remote.
As often happens, my wife “continued to push me to be a better version of me”, and I ended up getting one of those fancy programmable all-in-one remotes. THIS ONE DEVICE, made it all work seamlessly, executing the complicated sequence of commands automatically, with just pressing one button. And not only that but issuing commands to different devices simultaneously when appropriate.
What makes this even more amazing, is that my initial move was so long ago, that the underlying technology has continued to evolve, but this single device has stayed at the forefront, offering a consistent experience. I have upgraded devices, servers, and even services, and the UX hasn’t changed.
Sometimes, we face a situation like this, where more and better technology, really complicated stuff, can make things really simple and clean from the user’s perspective. It is almost like making the system more complex reaches a point where complexity agglutinates and everything becomes much simpler. Clarke was right when he said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, or, as smooth as butter.