Like many children, I was able to tell things apart from a young age. In particular, I could tell you a car's make and model from fairly small details (like light clusters, panel shapes, window shapes).
While my focus is now much less on the world of production car design, somethings never change. The other day I saw a car with a 2005 registration plate, but the car shape/detailing was from the 2000-2003 version. Or thereabouts. So that made me thing that the car was likely to have been re-plated, re-built or at worst a cut and shunt.
What does that have to do with starting again?
Well, looking back at over twenty years of car-knowing, I started to see the big picture; the cycle some manufacturers have for a model is to release, refresh and then replace. Usually this happens over an six-to-eight-year period. The mid-period refresh being the one you probably want to buy second-hand as many of the initial bugs of the first version will have been dealt with.
It was really interesting to see this post in Inc from Jason Fried at 37signals (a company I have a lot of respect for given the way they work and the products they produce).
Too often, we don't know when to stop re-touching and *finessing* the existing product and just start again.
There's nothing to say that what we create second time 'round won't be similar in spirit, core value or purpose as the first version, but that we give something a fresh perspective can only be a good thing.
I remember a few years ago a few colleagues and I helped our managers re-examine our approach to telling our story to potential clients, the work was challenging and a lot of fun. The end result was something fresh that still remained true to where we had come from.
Have you ever done that? How did it go?
I wonder if there are things we should start again? Things that are worth the attention. Things that have served us well but need to be given a new perspective.
It's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out for 37signals.