Choose Two and Make it Memorable

Those of us that have resided in the world of manufacturing are familiar with the phrase:

“you can have it fast, of high quality, or affordable… pick two”

Recently, I inherited a tiny classic Japanese camera. As I was studying the device, I was thoroughly impressed with the quality. It is apparent in every aspect… the weight, finite detailing, owners manual, and case. It is reminiscent of times gone by. This is not a product of the snap together, “designed for manufacturability” era, rather the prodigy of electromechanical days and created before AutoCad.


(1966 Rollei 35s)

I don’t have access to the original cost of the camera, but from the three attributes listed above, the two that were chosen were fast and high quality. The fast being “bought off the shelf” in Germany by my dad who was there attending a VW dealer’s meeting in the late 60’s.

The residual emotional response here is my reaction to the quality. It’s the attribute above all others that seems to have the most adherence. This is especially relevant in today’s global world of instant gratification.

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to sit in on a conference call with William McDonough (architect and father of the “cradle to cradle” concept). During the Q&A session, Mr. McDonough stressed the need to slow down and approach things thoughtfully, with the bigger picture in mind.

If you take a second, and do a mental inventory of your favorite things, or favorite times… chances are it’s the quality of those items or experiences that raise their hands the highest in your memory. Not the ones, for the most part, you got a great deal on, or the speed with which they came into fruition. Of the three, quality seems to be the keel on memories boat.

In the world of home organization, many compromises can be made to contend with ease, expense and schedules. However, recent research indicates that home design trends are leaning more and more towards “quality over quantity”… quality of the space and quality of the material used. All of which requires more thought be given to the lifestyle of those who occupy the space and how they use it. Which ultimately leads to a more qualitative experience and a more memorable one.

As proof of the struggle we all face, isn’t it interesting that I used a digital camera to instantly capture the picture of the vintage version, and the internet to instantly provide access to these thoughts? Perhaps one color of the palate is just to do things as thoughtfully and as civil as we can.


3 thoughts on “Choose Two and Make it Memorable

  1. I used to sell vintage needlepoint kits on eBay. I photographed them with a digital camera so tiny and basic that it didn’t have a display, and I couldn’t really see through the viewfinder. Then I’d load the photos into the computer and try to come up with something I could put in my listing. It was a fair amount of effort and I just about broke even, so I stopped six months ago.

    Recently I ran across a couple of kits from the 1970’s, and decided to try to sell them, and some crafts fabrics I had. In the meantime, a friend gave me a used scanner. For the fabrics, I didn’t even use the camera. I put them on the scanner! It made good, true-color digital images.

    It does seem contradictory to promote old fashioned handcrafts by Internet and scanner.

  2. My studio apartment presents a challenge: space vs. stuff.

    I had a huge, space-gobbling monitor, and had allowed tons of papers and supplies to clutter my table. When my son gave me an LCD monitor, the freed-up space inspired me to declutter both the table and the wall space behind it. So-o-o much more peaceful for me!

  3. People just simply jump the gun and buy too many crappy, cheap products even BEFORE they downsize, get rid of things, or use a trash can. I would wait until you have satisfactorily weeded through stuff before you shop. Imagine all the time and money you’d save. Take it and buy a great organizing system of a higher quality. Online is a great resource. And it should last for years.

    However, I am firm believer that if you find something simple, you don’t need to spent a lot of money on it. I keep my camera case, small manuals and accessories inside a metal canister on my desk. The canister is part of a larger set, and the graphic on the outside is just so much fun– art deco sailboats from the 1930’s (blue and red.) I love that. And boy, they were cheap, cheap, cheap. I love having a little bit of history on my desk that is both useful and beautiful.

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