Josh began by using the dictionary definition of simplicity (as given by Wikipedia) pointing out that the word is often used as a derogatory statement. He then went onto “clarity of expression” and that striving for it while programming is something a lot of people do but never quite seem to achieve.
He spoke of an example where a user comes to a programmer asking for a report, and the usual first reaction is “ah, you need a reporting system.” He also said that’s not always the case, at the end of the day, the user just wanted a report, at this point I heard quite a few people take a breath in through their teeth (particularly the guy sitting to the right of me, he knows who he is.) That is a hard problem, particularly at Stickyeyes where we really do get a lot of people saying “I want a report” and often we have to build a system, simply because of the sheer amount of similar repetitious reports.
He made a very good point about developers having a tendency to go for the newest, shinyest tools (such as HipHop for PHP.) The reason for this is to point out that these tools exist because they solve a particular type of problem, so unless the tool actually helps you, do you really need to use it?