Reinventing the wheel a new strategy for success

wheelThanks to those thick MBA books and continuously blabbering business news channels, we now understand that Change is the only thing to care about. We know that markets change with a wink of our eyes and that opportunities once lost will never happen. We need to be Agile. Where’s the time? The whole world order is changing so fast! We need to rush.

With all that crap in mind, isn’t it stupid to keep doing the same stuff? We just need to leverage what is available and jump on to launch as many new products as possible. The idiots don’t realize this. They keep re-inventing the wheel. We believe we should reuse our knowledge, save time and success will be a guarantee. Or is it, the other way round?

Reinventing the wheel is a proverb which simply means to duplicate a basic method that has already previously been created. It doesn’t make any business sense wasting time doing the same stuff all over again.

But there’s a catch here. A basic component or method that has already been created can be reused. It does save time, but at a cost. In Computer Science we are taught of an excellent term ‘GIGO’. Simply elaborated GIGO means Garbage in, Garbage out. If the inputs are not right the output too can’t be. The final product is an outcome of what was used as an input. If reusing the same methods again and again saves time, it also has the risk of doing the same mistakes again and again. Reinventing than is the only option left.

Google launched a new browser Chrome last year. It tried to reinvent the basic engines that run this browser. Chrome comes with a new javascript engine that can fasten up the execution and load sites faster. Until then we just cursed the websites, and never knew the culprit was our own browser. Microsoft raked millions coming up with new glowing operating systems. It was easier to reuse the same old stuff and re-brand it after a few changes. The result? Microsoft Vista became the most bloated operating system and doomed so hard that people switched back to Windows XP. Microsoft was forced to re-write parts of the new operating System Windows 7, to ensure that the results re different this time. Apple reinvented the complete interface whether it was the iPod or the iPhone. They were different than their generation of gadgets. It challenged the basic understanding of multi tasking on handheld devices and providing extra frills like huge cameras that are no where near to what they promise.

All said reinventing the wheel is never an easy task. That’s simply because:

  1. Reinventing is challenging. You are challenging the world’s common sense. You are trying to prove the way things were done from ages can be changed. And can be changed for better. This requires a whole lot of courage. It’s risky.
  2. Reinventing is difficult. Across ages people have now forgotten how the basic components are made in the first place. As a programmer I know how to make cool websites but how the web browser interacts with your operating system. I have only the required knowledge.
  3. Reinventing is time consuming. You feel having products for every market segment is important. To capture the market is important. Let’s invest time there, rather waste by doing stuff no body seems to be doing.
  4. Reinventing is against humans. Most of us work hard not by will but by circumstances. We want to get the work done asap and just have good time. To be on the face, we are lethargic. Reinventing will kick us to walk the extra mile. That’s painful.

But as the cliché goes, there’s no gain without any pain. Some of us seem to be just hands on. They are stubborn enough to think that the world can be changed. They are not the ones who will pin point that everything is wrong. But are the ones who will accept every argument only if it is justified; only if they understand it.

Anything can not be right just because it has been there for ages. It has been there for ages because there was no one who took the pain to understand it, challenge it and than improve it.

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{ 5 comments }

Josh Hanagarne March 18, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Innovation is wonderful when it’s done for the right reasons, and potentially disastrous when it’s being done for its own sake. I work in a library where we talk a lot about the need to innovate, but we wind up trying to do too many things just because everyone else is, and we don’t do any of them particularly well. Other than that, you said it all very well. You’re a great writer. Thanks for the post.

Chanda Himanshu March 19, 2010 at 2:39 am

Hi Josh, Completely agree with you on that one. I believe innovation has and equal amount of risk involved which can either pay high or make you loose a lot. Probably that is the reason why most of us try to avoid that risk (to avoid failures) and live a life of mediocrity.
BTW thanks for the comments, I am learning quite a lot from your blog and Guest posts @ CB too :)

Josh Hanagarne March 19, 2010 at 2:40 am

I appreciate that! We’re both geniuses. Let’s go celebrate!

Monitors September 27, 2010 at 9:03 am

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the post. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had fun writing this post.

pat January 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Like using algae for renewable energy, there is a good chance that based upon human predictions, reinventing the wheel is the boom of 2012, and indeed, of the next century.

Without it, where would mankind be?

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