There is some advantage to installing pathogen, airline, and just leaving it. Notably, defaults take like three lines of vimrc and you don't have to make a blog post to remind yourself how to decipher it six months later.
Ironically, all the things this guy decries as "noise" I find fairly useful. There are parts I don't use, but selectively ignoring them is much easier than adding even more lines to my two-page vimrc which is already bigger than I'd like.
Sometimes simple is more clever than complex.
I'm stealing that, except I'm using the gutter to show the buffer number.
I like to use the status line to keep track of buffer-local options that differ from the default setting. That's what https://github.com/tomtom/tstatus_vim gives me.
One thing I would love (I know, it's frivolous) is full color emoji in my Linux terminal, though that doesn't seem like it's coming any time soon.