This reasoning is loaded with assumptions and it’s exactly what I’m questioning in this post. Who’s to say all new companies always need simple designs? It completely depends on the problem they’re trying to solve and the audience they’re targeting.
It’s possible that the example companies I cited lucked out because of timing and network effects, and that they wouldn’t have success now because people’s expectations for software products have changed in the years since. Who knows.
But I think there’s ample recent evidence to the contrary—just look at Microsoft’s recent Windows stumbles. They tried making Windows 8 simpler and more visually trendy, but it was a disaster, because those changes resulted in a significant net reduction of productivity for many Windows users. You can see the same with the iPad Pro. Sure it’s simpler than a MacBook, but for many users it’s too limited to be a sufficient computer replacement. It depends on what the customer is trying to do.