Sometimes the old folks are just wrong.
Read Time: 3 minutes
The wheel has been reinvented. Many times.
I can't tell you how many business meetings I've been in that have ended with the adage, "there's no need to reinvent the wheel." This is one of the seminal hymnals of the Cult of the Status Quo. It's also a terrible way to conduct business, or general life philosophy for that matter. First, let's consider that the wheel has, indeed, been re-invented MANY times over. We believe that the first usage of wheels as a tool was around 3,500 B.C. in Mesopotamia. As mankind was just emerging from the Neolithic era, the first purposeful use of wheels was not for transportation, but rather for pottery. Yes, the potter's wheel, which would be re-populized a mere 5,490 years in the future by Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg, and Demi Moore in the major motion picture Ghost. Around 3,200 B.C., in what I can imagine as an an ancient scenario that would also give birth to the Reese's Cup, some careless basket weaver stumbled into a potter's workshop, and the resulting crash produced a minature Goldbergian proto-Chariot.
Interesting side note, the wheel is 100% completely a human construct. Most simple inventions and innovations take inspiration from something in the natural world. People observe the flight of a bird and experiment with mimicking it's structure until we have powered flight. The wheel, however, is perhaps the original and most significant exception. "Wheels" as load bearing tools do not occur in the natural world. Yay us.
From stone potter's wheels we moved to wooden circles. Around 3,200 B.C. archaeologists have discovered remnants of wood-carved wheels in Eastern Europe. The Egyptians next "reinvented" the wheel circa 2,000 B.C. with the addition of spokes. Celtic smiths improved on the durability of the design by adding iron rims. Rome burned... Dark Ages... belligerent kingdoms, Crusades, Black Death, really good painting and sculpture in Italy, the Earth really actually revolves around the sun (whaaaa???), internal combustion engine...and BOOM the next advancement in the wheel is the pneumatic tire, which is essentially the basic premise of what we truck around on today.
The moral of this story? It's a good thing to reinvent the wheel. Just ask your sciatica. Keep going. Keep improving. Keep plussing ++++++.
You don't know it's broken until you try and fix it.
This phrase is perhaps less-commonly used in business, but is practiced more often. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Sage wisdom, right? Hogwash. More status quo-ism. Automobiles with manual transmissions weren't broken, but the advent of automatics sure made driving a lot easier. House-sized 1960's era supercomputers weren't broken, but they also had less computing power than that smartphone you have in your pocket (imagine trying to mine Bitcoin with those monstrosities!). The point here is that it's not necessarily a matter of "being broken" or not. It doesn't matter if we're talking about the number 2 pencil, or the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, one adage is unassailably true - nothing is perfect. Therefore, if nothing is ever perfect, ipso facto, there is always room for improvement. In my mind I like to think of "perfection" as the number of points between where you are now, and the destination of perfection. Any high school geometry student will tell you that between any two points in space, lies an infinite number of points in between. We can't reach perfection, but we can, and should, keep pushing to get closer.
I've written before how our civilization is akin to a supernova. The moment the elements within a certain sized star become heavy enough to start producing the element iron, the star is doomed. There is no turning back. Within seconds it explodes into a brilliant supernova. The moment we stop trying to fix things because we don't think anything is broken, is the doomsday point for our society. We will succumb to a statusquova.
The moral of the story? Keep on fixing.
Sliced bread wasn't actually that great.
- Sliced bread is easier to eat = people eat more of it = more starch, carbs, calories.
- Cut bread goes stale faster, so sliced bread contains a whole host of chemicals and additives to preserve it longer.
- Name brand sliced bread costs about twice as much as bakery bread.
If I told you that an invention was more expensive and less safe than an earlier version, would you think it was "the greatest thing?" It would be more accurate to say that "cigarettes are the greatest thing since sliced bread."
The moral of the story? All innovation is not created equal.
Keep reinventing. Keep innovating. Keep creating for good. #StayWoke