Great dual interview with Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From in Wired:
[…] the great inventions are usually those that take the smallest possible step to unleash the most change. That was the difference between Tim Berners-Lee’s successful HTML code and Ted Nelson’s abortive Xanadu project. Both tried to jump into the same general space—a networked hypertext—but Tim’s approach did it with a dumb half-step, while Ted’s earlier, more elegant design required that everyone take five steps all at once.
Makes perfect sense. Rails falls into the same sort of category. Put a bunch of ideas together that were all already floating around out there. Just put it into a package and a context where they could flourish.
It’s a great knack to have, the ability to do that. And it’s a common trap to fall into, to want to redesign and change way too many things all at once.