Veges over pills

Veges over pills

In Ancient China, medicine and doctors played a very different role. Instead of paying for the cure, the Chinese paid the doctor to keep them healthy. They adopted a more preventive approach compared to modern medicine.

Doctors are paid only if their patients remain healthy. It’s like a monthly retainer that’s paused when their patients fell sick and resumed once they are healthy again. 

Even though everyone agrees that prevention is better than the cure, not many have the discipline and conviction to follow through. It’s just much easier to passively ignore the problem and fix it later, rather than actively trying to prevent it.

The simplest solution

In software development, over-engineering is a huge problem because it is so easy to manipulate bits and bytes compared to atoms and molecules. It is very common to fall into the trap of building more and more features to cater for scenarios and problems that might happen in the future. George Whitesides showed us with his paper-made postage-sized diagnostic tool that the solution to a problem can be simple and cheap at the same time. In order to provide healthcare to regions of the world that can't afford them, instead of lowering the cost of existing tools, he approached the problem from the opposite angle. He used the cheapest thing he can find to create those tools.

He also came up with a way to build a centrifuge to separate blood plasma with an egg-beater. Simplicity is his strategy in tackling problems. A student from MIT when asked by him, came up with a way to best describe what exactly is simplicity.

What is simplicity?

It's impossible to f*ck it up

The next time you are trying to solve a problem, try solving it from different perspectives and remember that most of the time, the simplest solution is also the best. I'll leave you with a video of George's talk at TED.