There is an interesting thing I am noticing with younger developers – anytime someone mentions optimization, the first words out of their mouths is something about how how the optimization is premature optimization, and is only going to cause more harm than good.
These developers lack a certain wisdom that comes with years of varied experience – once you have experienced something that inefficient, you know how to spot it in the future.
Optimization is about simplicity. Think about it – whenever something is considered optimal, it is usually simplified somewhat from its original incarnation. An optimized interface is usually a simplified one. Optimized code usually takes less steps to do something, and thus is usually less complex; hence – simplified.
From the first Computer Science (or programming) class, the KISS philosophy is hammered in. Keep It Simple, Stupid. The art of optimization is the ultimate application of the KISS philosophy.
Never underestimate or disregard the benefit of simplification, of which is nothing but a better word for optimization. Simple is easier to use, understand and modify in the future. What could possibly be wrong with that?