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No, Passion is not enough

Achieving high goals requires passion, I often hear.

Eg. “Dig a big well in africa”, if you are fond of building wells.
Eg. “Develop a precise, highly robust digital sensor”, if you are a sensor expert.

Yes, passion is important. But it is by far not sufficient.

Go try “meaning“.

The goal you achieve must have a higher meaning for others: For mankind, for your customers, for your company – naming just a few.

Do something for other people. Make other people happy.

“Digging a well in Africa” will provide vital, clean water for dozens of people.

“Developing a precise and highly robust sensor” could

  • Allow companies constructing plants to require less cabeling, invest less effort in housing and cooling, as well as predict technical failures time ahead
  • Enable your company to make more profit because the sensor is easier (=cheaper) to produce and has more value to costomers (=can be sold for a higher price).

Other examples:

  • Provide martial arts lessons because you love doing martial art youself ? -> Safety, fitness and streangth for your students
  • Sell books because you yourself love reading books ? -> Give childrean and adults a senseful alternative to watching TV and playing online games


We all know: Money does not really motivate. Especially for intellectual work (engineers, managers, ..) financial incentives can be even counter intuitive.
But what can a company then offer instead ?

1. Autonomy
2. Mastery
3. Purpose.

Listen to Dan Pink in the video: “Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives. Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters. Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”

[ted id=618 lang=de]

10 Laws of Simplicity

List from the book by John Maeda,
comments by me


  1. Reduce
    The simplest way to achieve simplicity is by thoughtful reduction
    Carefully find out what is not required by the target user in the intended context. Then remove it or move it into the background.
  2. Organize
    Organization makes a system of many appear fewer
    Something about grouping items, eg. creating menus and submenus.
  3. Time
    Savings in time feel like simplicity
    If a task takes long to complete I get exhausted or simply inpatient. If a task is completed in a short or almost no time I feel happy or relaxed.
  4. Learn
    Knowledge makes everything simpler
    If I have to investigate to find out how to use something I have to spend time and nerves for this task. I I know something about the context it is easy for me to guess. If I know exactly what I have to do to reach my goal I might not even need to think.
  5. Differences
    Simplicity and complexity need each other
  6. Context
    What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral
  7. Emotion
    More emotion is better than less
  8. Trust
    In simplicity we trust
    Trusting the device = not having to worry = being more relaxed
  9. Failure
    Some things can never be made simple
  10. The One
    Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful
    ‘Obvious’ is relative …

“SHE: Shrink, hide embody”

Keys to Simplicity

By John Maeda

  1. Away
    More appears like less by simply moving it far, far away.
  2. Open
    Openness simplifies complexity.
  3. Power
    Use less, gain more