Dave Winer tells us, “HTTP had to be graspable by a single mind, because it was designed by a single mind.” Similarly, Bob Frankston says, “X.400 … was designed over a period of ten years yet failed against SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) which could be implemented in an afternoon.
I’m going to keep looking for examples of how simplicity trumps complexity on the Net, because I think there’s something profound (and reassuring) about the idea. I’m also on the lookout for counterexamples.