I hate this phrase and all of its variations: “Don’t reinvent the wheel”. It irritates me because I’ve seen some pretty crappy wheels out there. Just imagine what it would be like to ride a long distance in a cart with square wheels. You’re going to get a bruised backside at the very least, and if you are unlucky enough, you’ll bite your tongue, knock your spine out of alignment, or get whiplash. I don’t know many people who would be content to risk bodily harm just because they are afraid to speak up about the square nature on their conveyance’s rollers. It’s not OK for carts, and it’s not OK for other things either. I’m really sorry to break it to you, but if your wheels are square, they have to be reinvented.
“Don’t reinvent the wheel” just smacks of excuses to me. Something like: “It’s already perfect. I invented it, after all. Sure that was some 20 odd years ago, but you don’t fix what isn’t broken”. I get it. There is no place in the world for improvement. Why innovate when you can just be content with old and dependable? That old green 1970 Ford Ranger Buddy gets me from point A to B in an hour so no need for the spanking-new silver 2012 Porsche Boxster that gets you there in half that time…unless you’re delivering $100,000 of pizza and you get a 10% tip if you get them there in 30 minutes. But who eats that much pizza? Go ahead and make your own analogy.
OK, maybe your wheel’s round and fast. Still, here’s what I suggest when someone tells you “don’t reinvent the wheel”. Tell them you’re going to put teeth on it. Turn it into a gear. Integrate it into some old tired system and crunch out some new power. The Swiss do it all the time. Why not you.