The myth of the simple business plan

The status quo is accepted, regardless how complex, but we demand the new thing be simple.

Here's a business plan for a textbook manufacturer ca. 1955:

Hire a professor, pay them to spend years making a textbook. Hire a lot of salespeople, have them visit other professors and their committees, selling them a book they won't ultimately buy, but will merely force others to buy. Then build an infrastructure to make sure the bookstores have the book that the students are instructed to buy against their will. Then add meaningless updates to the book regularly so the used textbook market doesn't impinge on new book sales.

If someone pitched you that business model a century ago, you'd laugh.

Most giant industries have similarly convuluted plans. For some reason, we require new business models to be far more elegant…

The secret to classic industries is that each step in the plan must be simple. So simple that it's easy to explain and scale. But those simple steps can certainly add up to a complex web.