Culture is something we get asked about a lot, so I'm writing this series of posts on the core virtues we practise at Root and that make us who we are.

Choosing simplicity over complexity always works. Although we recognise the temptation of complex systems, problem statements and solutions, our Keep it Simple virtue helps us avoid distraction and stay focused on what matters.

“Keep it simple, stupid” (KISS) is a universal design principle popularised by the U.S. Navy in the ’60s. Its purpose is a reminder that most systems function better when they are kept simple and, as a result, design should prioritise simplicity and limit unnecessary complexity.

We aren’t reinventing the wheel with this one and have unashamedly adopted this well-known approach to simplicity: break complex problems into simple parts until you can explain all of them to a labrador.

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” ― Albert Einstein, allegedly (& others)

How we Keep it Simple at Root


Practices such as documenting everything (check out our Move Fast and Ship Things post) and always starting with “Why” (more on this virtue here) are major enablers towards keeping things simple. Explicating your Why, problems, thoughts and solutions onto one page (a “One-Pager”) forces discipline, structured thinking and, as a result, simplicity.

One-Pagers are a common theme at Root, whether for proposals, meeting debriefs, brainstorming ideas or even simple agreements. By distilling complexity into a single page, you end up with the most important building blocks, having discarded what doesn’t matter.

“Simplicity has a way of improving performance through enabling us to better understand what we are doing.” ― Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger


Our 5-whys process, how we do root cause analysis at Root, is another great example of distilling something seemingly complex into something simple. I’ve mentioned it often in this Culture Series, because it really helps us focus on and isolate the key contributors to our mistakes. It helps us filter the signal from the noise to rapidly learn and improve. You can read more about it in Growing by Learning at Root.

An example of forcing simplicity at Root

We fully understand the value of people which is why we give each and every Rootstar (that’s each and every team member) a piece of the growth they help create at Root. We do this via our ESOP (Employee Share Ownership Plan).

ESOP Rules can get pretty complicated and when you know that you’ll have to explain this to everyone using a One-Pager, it forces you to think about and optimise for simplicity from the start. “How am I going to explain all of this in a one-page explainer doc?” The answer is to simplify and break everything down into bite-sized pieces.

We’re looking for awesome people to join our team

If our Keep it Simple virtue resonates with you, look at our careers page to see if we have a role open for you. If not, you can apply anyway by selecting “Don’t see a role for you?” and we’ll get back to you when something suitable opens up!