Minimalism in business

Because sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Photo by LUM3N on Unsplash

Even after being in business for 9 years, I still wanted to keep everything: every email, every note, every design draft or mockup — all the small things that helped Monitive evolve into what it is today.

Storage is not an issue these days, and by the looks of where technology is headed, that trend will not change anytime soon.

There’s just one catch.

Just like gathering physical “memories” at home, storing everything (virtual or otherwise) in a business has a similar effect: it doesn’t scale!

As time goes on, it will be harder and harder to find something, and suddenly you realize there’s a lot of rubbish lying around. Even if a particular piece of information was very valuable at some point 5+ years ago, today it’s just a thing of the past that you couldn’t let go.

This is why I decided to pursue a life of minimalism, both personally and professionally. Each December during the Christmas holidays, I have a lot of time to look back on the year and see what went well (and what went not so well). It’s also a great time to clean up.

This means deleting documents and folders you don’t need, deleting emails that you’re not likely to ever read again, and even getting rid of paper documents which no longer have value.

But the most important part of all this is that it changes our mindset moving forward. Whenever some email, document, or other piece of information comes our way that we already know will be of no value to us in the future, we can safely and boldly destroy it right then and there.

No need to file it and delete it one or two years later. Why waste the time and space?

This is something I also applied to Monitive’s database, and the GDPR helped with this. How? It clearly pointed out that not having a piece of information is far safer than having it and not containing it properly.

Just like secrets.

Up until a while ago, I loved keeping secrets. I enjoyed the fact that I knew something that almost nobody knew.

That backfired a few times. Assuming someone else does or doesn’t know “the secret” is prone to human interpretation errors.

So, my personal new resolution: Don’t allow people to tell me secrets! I really don’t want to know.

The same thing goes for private, personal data and GDPR. We’re better off without the personal data. So, whenever a user deletes his account, absolutely every action that they took (or stored) in our system is deleted to the last byte.

Poof, gone! We have no idea who you are after clicking the “I understand and agree to delete my account” button.

This means, at any point, we only have the data of users that are actually using our service and are happy with our relationship — which is another form of minimalism, applied to business.

I hate it when a service I used four years ago tries to sell me something today. I don’t want to do the same to our users and customers.