Being ordinary isn’t bad, it’s just ordinary. In fact, ordinary (or normal) things make life easier for all of us. We know how to plug in a power cord, how to turn on the lights, and how to get to work every day… and we don’t have to invest a lot of time thinking about what is normal to us. In addition, every time we learn something new, like how to play a new sport, we practice so that it becomes natural (normal) to us as well.My wife and I have an autistic son, and we have spent time over the last eleven years figuring out what “normal” was going to be like for our family, relative to what we hear other people’s “normal” lives are like. While every person has a different specific experience of life, I suspect welcoming any child into a family requires figuring out what the new normal is, autism or no. Last week I came across a question posted on LinkedIn Answers by James McGovern asking why PaaS (platform-as-a-service) vendors are not working toward developing standards. While I appreciate many of the responses to James’ question, I was triggered particularly by Dan DeMaggio’s response. Dan gave a consistent response to others on the post, but added “feel free to MAKE standards that make development easier, and some of the PaaS-es may support them” [emphasis mine]. In my assessment, this is a powerful mood and posture for us to take, not only in PaaS but in many areas where technology compels us to move quickly and we nevertheless need to maintain our sanity as we go through cycles of innovation, maintenance and upgrade. To produce consistency in the way we exploit a technology is to remember for-the-sake-of-what we are using it. To select a CRM platform, a productivity suite or any other technology without consideration for our intended use doesn’t make any sense… but the more deeply we can describe our intentions, the more consistently we can exploit our choices. To speak of whether something is effective requires first that we know our intentions. The more fundamentally we know what we intend, the more we can identify consistent rules to exploit as technology continues to drift. Though we may outsource a process area or a technology stack, though we may shift to a subscription-based service or move apps out to portable devices, fundamentally our business continues to make widgets as before. Where does the difference between fundamental and specific show up for you? Where can inventing standards simplify the way you view technology drift?