Do You Want What’s New or What Works?

How do you feel about change: do you like what’s new or what works?

Sometimes I like new things. I love to try new recipes—often with company! I’ll try new software without a second thought. I’ll try various processes for my own work, especially if I think I’ll get a throughput bump. I especially like new if I have a problem—being bored with the old recipes, the old apps don’t quite solve my problem, and if I want to do “more.”

I was an early adopter for blogging—I started my professional blogs in 2003. I even started a podcast back in the mid-2000s. I was too early for podcasting. The audience wasn’t there. I wasn’t on target.

Sometimes, I like what works. Once I found jeans that fit, I buy them. Again and again. I’m not big on changing computers too often. I’ve worn the same watch for at least 10 years.

We all have our preferences about what we like to change and what we’re not so sure about. We want to make decisions that match our needs.

I have an analog watch where I have to manually change the date for months that don’t have 31 days in them. I realized that the other day on the 24th, when my watch still said 21. I didn’t have a big problem. On the other hand, it was time for me to consider more options. I’m considering an Apple Watch, where I will never have to change the date (and time!) again.

Some of you bought the first Apple Watch when it came out. You wanted something new.

I want what works, so I waited (suspecting problems). I want what works—for my watch.

We often have to choose between selecting what’s new and what works. I often manage the risks of what’s new so I can experiment. Since I’ve been cooking and baking for many years, I have a lot of experience. That experience helps me manage my experiments. All the same, I’ve had two major disasters: rye bread that Mark dubbed dinosaur eggs; and this week my macaroons were too liquidy. I tried to bake them as bars and that didn’t work. I know what to look for now.

Knowing what to look for when we run experiments can help us try new things. I prefer to manage the cost of the new thing until I can see it will work. Notice I didn’t say, “Know” it will work. I have to see ways it can work. Keeping an experimental mindset can help me see more options, too.

I didn’t buy an Apple Watch before because I didn’t have a problem it could solve. If you already bought yours, it solved a problem for you. Now that I’ve identified a problem and done some searching to see my alternatives, I suspect I’ll buy an Apple watch sooner, rather than later. That’s because it not only solves my problem, but I know it works.

We are not just one way or the other when it comes to these choices. For me, deciding between “what’s new” and “what works” is situational. I bet it is for you, too.

That’s the question this week: Do you want what’s new or what works?

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