Day 1 — Maintenance Is Not Static

We don't think much about maintenance, in part because we're constantly distracted by shiny new things. — Kai Brach

Capitalism requires endless growth to survive. As such, we're incentivized to ignore maintenance. These incentives touch every part of our lives, from fast fashion to complex, nationwide infrastructure.

While books could be written on why maintenance is important and undervalued (here's a NYT piece for the interested), I want to focus on a reframe of the issue: maintenance is not static.

In "The Shape of Design," Frank Chimero argues that "hitting the bullseye is only a temporary state." He continues, "We must respond and move, simply because the work moves and the space around design shifts as culture changes and the adjacent possible grows."

The engineering world highlights this concept through temporal costs, which are a function of entropy rather than a function of use. In other words, all systems face inevitable decay.

A capitalist world approaches this problem through a fetishization of innovation, looking for something new and different when there is no real need.

A post-capitalist world embraces decay, and works to maintain products and systems and adapt them to new circumstances.

Reprioritizing maintenance forces us to embrace community. It shifts focus from the "innovator" to the users — anyone can build a prototype or develop policy, but it takes the entire community to keep these systems alive.

Maintenance is not static. Embrace it.