I enjoy the magazine Fast Company. They do a great job of highlighting innovations in all different kinds of industries, and I usually find something useful to my own situation.
Earlier this month, there was an article about the CEO of 37Signals that drew me in. As it turned out, the interview was good, but what was even better was that it led me to 37signals website. I didn’t know it, but I was familiar with the company, as the one who make the program “Base Camp”, among other useful collaborative online tools.
The most intriguing part of their website to me, was their list of 8 defining values. They were all to the point, and I felt like they could apply to the things that I am a part of at my church in the technical arts. The first value looks like this:
Useful is forever – Bells and whistles wear off, but usefulness never does. We build useful software that does just what you need and nothing you don’t.
With technology changing so fast, and with tons of new and exciting possibilities for how to do production, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that at the baseline, the gear we buy and the support we offer to our churches has to be useful. It must be just what our church needs and nothing it doesn’t need.
New moving lights, a switcher with more capacity, an audio console with more buttons, everything chasing timecode, using Pro Tools for live tracks, wireless everything. None of these things are right or wrong, but they tend to pull us off of what is truly useful.
At Willow Creek, there is a high value placed on innovation and trying new things and as a result, it can be very tempting to abandon useful in the quest for being cutting edge. Heck, not even temping, we end up letting go of useful simply because we forget about it.
Useful is boring and hopefully something that we do without thinking. And if it can be done without thinking, it is easy to forget.
Don’t let go of something useful for the sake of what is, at the end of the day, a bell or a whistle.