The foundation isn't physical

The things that mean the most to us, whether individually or as a whole, are built upon a foundation that doesn't physically exist.

The iPad is the outuput of Apple's idea that machines should be beautifully designed, and easy to use. Basecamp is the product created by 37signals' idea that software should be elegant and contain fewer features to distract a user with. Wikipedia is the result of an idea that the sum of all the world's information could be readily accessible to everyone, for free. And our homes are built upon the foundation of our relationships with the ones we love.

I think about this whenever I get stuck on a project.

The approach people often take is to look at whatever we're working on, and begin refining the physical product. Usually though, we'd be better served by refining the idea first, and to only then begin refining that which was born from the idea.

The more refined the idea, the more refined the output that's created. And so, the reason some products seem to be so great is primarily because they have their idea down so solidly.

I think it's important to remember that whatever it is we're working on, that they're merely the physical manifistation of our ideas. And that if we're not happy with our products, maybe it's the idea we need to be working on a bit more.