Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Twitter and Medium Ev Williams had few constraints to deal with as he works on his latest project. He realized that this freedom came with a price — how could he ensure his team didn’t create something overly complex? How could he ensure they kept shipping, just like a small startup would? Williams writes:
Nothing clarifies focus like a date. (Or: If you don’t have a tough constraint, make one up.)
Historically, I’ve been constrained by engineering resources and money. These are good forcing functions to drive simplicity. It’s caused me no end of angst that I couldn’t make our products as great as I wanted to in the past.
With Medium, we have an engineering team that can build anything, matched with large ambitions, and plenty of capital. How do we ensure we don’t create something overly complex and/or fail to ship at all? By picking a date.