Building something new is wonderful because you don’t have any native history – you really do have a completely carte blanche opportunity.
But, the moment you join anything, you must necessarily adopt a set of rules baked within the culture and then any axioms that may have naturally arisen out of that new economy.
This is important because history matters, a great deal actually. It matters at the minutiae and at the meta. It matters in not just the what but the how and most certainly the why.
I’m reminded of this starkly when it comes to code, and as Joel has always said, don’t do this:
When you throw away code and start from scratch, you are throwing away all that knowledge. All those collected bug fixes. Years of programming work.
Don’t throw it away without giving it a seriously-good look. You see, there was a reason why X and Y and Z exists in the company – whether they are good or bad elements is besides the point.
The moment you start building anything, a product, a service, a company, a family… those things immediately are born into being and a cultural and historical heartbeat starts pumping. Don’t arrogantly snuff it out until you understand why it’s there in the first place.