I finally understand why people choose a car like the Mustang over better cars; because they are not looking for a car, they are looking for a Mustang, and no car is a better Mustang, than a Mustang.
The same reasoning applies to a Harley-Davidson or an iPod. The experience of the particular “make” (for lack of a better word) defines the type, or “microtype”. Comparisons to other items outside the microtype are meaningless.
This doesn’t mean progress is impossible, it just means that it must be measurable across all properties that define the microtype, not just typical engineering or design measures.
It might seem like “brand” is one of these metrics, but not exactly. The film brushes on the development of a more modern Mustang which was ultimately rejected by the Mustang audience because too un-Mustang, even though it came from Ford and bore the Mustang name. In this way, once the microtype has been established, it’s no longer controlled by the creator, but by the consumer. There’s a number of examples of this in other products, and in the case of the “modern mustang”, the solution was to turn it into a new vehicle (in this case, the Ford Probe).
There’s another gem in the film where the chief engineer talks about leadership. I wanted to include it here, but I couldn’t find an unencumbered copy of the media.
The film compells me to create something that people love as much as the Mustang.