Stuffing Sausages and The Evolution of Products

The problem with working on something new, that is big, and evolves over time is that the inventors are watching the sausage get made.

Most projects evolve over time. I go out and show the ideas off to someone, a great designer lends a hand and influences the direction, a book makes me think twice about an idea, or a new product shows a better way to do something. This is all normal. So are the rat holes I wander down for a week or two, the misdirections, and the questioning. Always the questioning.

The biggest problem is that every person who sees the new idea has a mental picture of that idea at a certain time in space. The next time that person gets an update, he inevitably carries the previous mental picture with him, and his feedback and impressions are partly built off that. But it isn’t just outsiders who do this. As the inventor, I do too. It is hard to evolve the story when I know the history and carry all the baggage, when I’ve watched the sausage get made. I, too, still present the product the way it was discussed two months ago, not what it has evolved into.

I have to be constantly vigilant, fighting my intuition to study the history, and instead focus on the product in front of me. Because what we have today is so much more interesting than what we had even two weeks ago.