“Let’s not reinvent the wheel” How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it?
For practical purposes, people don’t like to reinvent the wheel. It’s better to do, follow, use what is already there because it saves us a lot of time and grief by letting us see blind alleys and lost trails of others who have worked in our area.
In reality, the wheel gets reinvented all the time because we need an almost infinite variety of wheels. The gear was a reinvention of the wheel, as was the pneumatic tire. Nano wheels are being invented that will make nano machines.
I’m not saying that being practical is a dumb idea. It’s not. The key is knowing in what context pragmatism comes in handy to move forward while also understanding that simply imitating the success of others will not lead to the same outcome for you.
So the most practical and intelligent thing to do is to first ask: how can I improve this? How can I make it better?
Start turning your own wheels before you imitate someone else.
- Reinventing wheels: Groupon and the Yellow page companies (jonsteinberg.com)
- Radio guest: Chris Zane, Author of Reinventing the Wheel (zanesafrit.typepad.com)