What's the God mode?

March 31, 2020

Elevenlabs AudioNative Player

If God were to design a login screen what would it look like?

You wouldn’t need to remember 8-alphanumeric characters from 3 years ago. You wouldn’t need to Command-F through a Password.docx file. And you certainly wouldn’t need you to thumb the fingerprint reader of your Mac for 1Password to autofill the outdated password.

No. If God designed the login, you’d arrive at the site, and be logged in before the page finished loading. Zero clicks; no mental overhead. And the security would be impenetrable.

Jeff Atwood has a fantastic essay going further into the login that God would have designed. He attributes this thought experiment to his CS Professor, Mr. Pausch, asking “What’s the God algorithm for this?“.

The generalized form is even more powerful:

“What’s the God mode?“.

Leave the constraints to one side and consider the optimum solution. Work out what you’d need to know to achieve it. And, only then, consider your constraints and start implementing.

1-Click login demonstrates this by leveraging your existing login, such as with Google, to massively speed up registering or logging in. This significantly narrows the gap to God Mode. It’s not zero clicks and the security isn’t bulletproof but it’s better than 8+ alphanumeric character copy paste.

You can apply this reasoning beyond software design. For your business, your personal productivity, or your relationships, ask yourself “What’s the God Mode?”.