Stuff and junk.
In so many areas of life, I’ve found that I—and most people—think that all sorts of possessions/features/whatevers are essential to being happy/creating successful products/whatevering, and so we are extremely hesitant to clean the slate and embark in some new direction because we think we’re giving up so much, that we’ll never be able to make any progress.
It’s easy enough to fix this in yourself—just fucking do it, or “JFDI” as someone who I respect in Philly has tattooed on his arm—but it’s more challenging to get others to put the torches to their ships and realize that all of their acquired bullshit is simply holding them back.
It’s much easier to start with the people who aren’t emotionally or ideologically committed to dragging around their baggage. Maybe the clingers will see the error of their ways, maybe not, but the people who let go of their uncritical acceptance of the past, “the dead hand of history” as Jefferson called it, will eventually win.
Example one: Another friend would constantly tell the story of the success of his former company’s flagship product. It was destroyed in reviews that compared it to the then-leading product; it was clearly deficient in the feature-comparison checklist department. But it just didn’t fucking matter, because all of those checked off features represented more crap that people didn’t want to deal with.
And so QuickBooks cleaned up, and while Great Plains kept their existing users, everyone who was just getting started chose the easy, no-legacy-bullshit path. You probably recognize the name “QuickBooks”; do you even know what this “Great Plains” thing is?
Example two: When I moved to New York City, I left behind an apartment full of stuff. I moved my bed, the books I cared about, a couple pieces of furniture, and a few of my bikes. Everything back in Philly? I had dreams of my loft there burning the fuck down, because I didn’t want to deal with it. I eventually went down one day, grabbed some stuff that didn’t even fill the back seat of my car, and had 1-800-GOT-JUNK take away the rest. Ahh, that felt so good.
Example three: Apple.
So, lesson: YOU DON’T NEED IT, THEY DON’T NEED IT. DON’T BUILD IT, DON’T KEEP IT, GET THE FUCK RID OF IT.
1: Tattooing, not a big fan.
2: My car, now there’s something just sitting around that I need to get rid of.
3: I remember this guy back in 2005 telling me that his Rio MP3 playing was better than my iPod because it told you what the bitrate of the MP3 you were currently play was. Fucking insane.