Simplify to solve problems

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

Did you ever wonder why you can order a $10 thingy online and it shows up at your door shipped all the way from China? How can they mail something so far affordably? 

My friend Ami Horowitz makes videos showing various injustices, how truth and narrative are different, and other strange and sometimes shocking oddities. Recently he discovered how the above was possible. Many decades ago when times were very different, the US government passed a law that allowed businesses from third world countries to send packages to the US for cheap – like $1.50 – even though it cost the US Postal service much more than that. 

So the taxpayers are subsidizing foreign businesses in South America, Asia, Europe – wherever. Further, it cost more for a business to ship a product from New Hampshire to Pittsburgh than from China to Pittsburgh. Not fair.

Once Ami made his movie and posted it on YouTube, he sent it to the White House. A week later they called him. A few weeks after that, the decades-old law was rescinded.

This post is about making things better by taking things away. You see, when confronted with a problem, many managers and administrators like to add a rule, law, step, checklist, position, paperwork, or remedy. You do this for years and you’ve got a complex, hard-to-move, heavy, red-taped bureaucracy that is hard to understand and wasteful.

Instead of adding, what about fixing it by taking things away? Real genius is making things better by taking things away.  

Have you added too much to solve problems? Do you need to simplify?

scott ulmer

love these and look forward to them daily. honest feedback, i liked the short and sweet drops of gold. the longer versions are not as easy of read first thing in the morning, to me; just my opinion. still love these and are grateful for them. so thank you!

Mike Kelly

How true. Simplifying all aspects of our lives is necessary. Simplifying Centuries of bad laws, laid on top of worse laws, so that generation of politician could report back that they are “doing something.” “Doing something,” at the expense of what? Sadly, too many of us are always wondering why is our representative is not doing anything about ___________? They probably are “doing something” and it’s probably not very wise or remotely well thought out. Fast forward a few more generations and they’re going to be holding the brunt of what this generation of politician “did.” It’s been going on for Centuries and the trajectory of where we are headed is not good. I agree with you. We need to simplify by taking things away.
Love reading your insight every morning!


This is great, very counter to the way I typically look at a problem, good wakeup to look at problem solving in ways that are not obvious
Thank you


Hi Larry.
This is a pet subject of mine. I was employed by a very successful Company who decided it would be a great idea to implement the ISO9000 Quality Assurance program. Sounds like a good plan. Within a few short years I saw our Company implode for the exact reasons that you indicate. Every employee ONLY had to do what was stipulated in the ISO program, NOTHING more. Every employee was excused from any wrong doing if they simply followed the letter of the ISO program.
This Company, and many others, are only a shadow of their former selves.
Cheers, Phillip.

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