Transoptimal Engineering may be a relatively new term, but it is a very old, persistent problem. Feature Creep has sunk many a successful product, converting it into an unsuccessful product over time. Standards Creep and Regulations Creep are part of a long cycle that exists within product and industry life cycles. Creep is an appropriate term that emotes visions of creeping vines which immobilize a design and slowly suffocate it from the nutrients provided by its environment. If a product or industry last long enough, it needs to reinvented itself through redesign from the ground up following the adage "start from scratch, rather than patch". If it is time in the life cycle to wind down, creep is the hallmark of the gentle goodbye. Dissatisfaction with the current product/situation provides the fertile ground necessary to sprout the next innovations.
All you have to do is read through the Made by Monkeys columns to see this theroy of overengineering and complex standards resulting in shoddy products born out. Appliances loaded up with features no one really cares about breaking after a year or two in the field. Same story with modern vehicles. With some much commodization and the public cry for feature after feature, what's the answer to this problem? How do you get back to simple, elegant designs that work the way they're supposed to??
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