I'm A Maintainer...and Proud of It!

by Jiffy Page

You know when you hear someone say out loud something you’d been thinking for a while?

I sat spellbound in my car this fall listening to the interviewee say,

“Our thesis is basically that our culture’s obsession with innovation and hype has lead us to neglect maintenance and maintainers.”


You know when you hear someone say out loud something you’d been thinking for a while?


What’s been quietly sitting in the back of my mind for the last decade or so is just that – why are we so fixated on creating cool new things? Why isn’t similar value and effort put on keeping cool old things, on fixing or adapting instead of discarding? Why is innovating better than maintaining? Why is being a software engineer cooler than being a plumber?


Until Stephen Dubner’s Freakonomics podcast episode, “In Praise of Maintenance,” I hadn’t heard a discussion framed that way outside of my head.


I’m mostly a maintainer. I value keeping things up, routine and tradition. Take my houseplants - some are 40 years old, hand-me-downs from my mother-in-law, a child of the Depression. Ask my kids about “trash and plants” - their Sunday evening chores from when they were small until they went to college. And, I come from a long line of maintainers; our very detailed 60+ year-old Christmas morning tradition, for example, is a point of great pride and annual anticipation for generations.


My husband, though, is an innovator. He sees opportunity for efficiency gains everywhere – parking the car facing out of a parking spot – and questions the status quo of most things – why aren’t cross-country tractor trailers used as bill boards? And, Howard and Stephen feel the same way: “Maintenance is simply a curse that has to be accommodated.”


But, Stephen also speaks for Howard when he acknowledges, “there’s not only a need but a certain nobility in taking care of what you’ve already created. And maybe we shouldn’t look at maintenance as the enemy of innovation. In praise of maintenance, let me just say this: it’s necessary work; it’s hard work; and for people like me, who are always in a hurry to make the next new thing, it can be really unappealing work. Which means that sometimes you need help.”


That’s where we come in – the Maintainers. The idea for Pixorium was Howard's; the past 10 years have been mine. And with BIG, BIG thanks to you, 2016 has been our best year ever. By far. Welcome to the party, Maintainers – now it’s our turn…


Here's to maintaining in 2017 - Cheers!




A link to the full podcast episode:http://freakonomics.com/podcast/in-praise-of-maintenance/


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