New & Works Better

Seth Godin:

But when we’re discussing our goals, our passion and the way we interact with the culture, it seems to me that what works is significantly more important than what’s new.

New for the sake of new is likely to turn out badly. Think Microsoft Windows Vista. Windows XP wasn’t new, it was actually quite old, but it worked, as well as Windows could. Microsoft decided it was time for something new and introduced Windows Vista. It had a lot of new in it, but it didn’t work very well.

As consumers we actually need something new once in a while, but the time between new things depends on design: Is it a classic design that ages gracefully? Or is it a trendy design that lasts but for a season?

If a company is in the business of maximizing sales in the short term going after fashion trends is probably the right strategy. Trendy shoppers like new and the more new you have the more they’ll buy. If on the other hand a company is in the business of maximizing profits in the long term researching and developing something that is new and works better is the right strategy. But as is always with making something good it takes time.