One might say the quality of everything has improved – our TV screens have never been more crisp & vivid, our systems and software never more refined, our roads and highways never more paved.
Yet the same advancements that allowed this evolution are also rewinding it.
Technology, machinery & factories, massive online retailers and now, artificial intelligence, have made a society prioritizing efficiency and accessibility over quality. If you look closely, you can feel it.
We are surrounded by poor quality things, acquired quickly and easily. We can get a fast food meal in minutes. We can furnish our entire home via Amazon next-day delivery. We can find solutions and express our ideas in seconds with the help of ChatGPT.
We are becoming numb and accustomed to low quality, making it hard to recognize what's actually good anymore. That is, if we're even bothering to look.
But quality is still out there, thanks to the precious few still striving for it:
The passionate chef who, despite a McDonald's on every corner, is dedicated to making the best gourmet burger in his city.
The master carpenter who knows she's up against IKEA.
The watchmaker who, in a world of Apple watches & other cheap wearables, builds timepieces that outlive us, and even the generations after us.
Those who search for quality can still find it.
And those who experience quality can still appreciate it.
We know good food by the signs our body gives us after eating it. We know a high-quality chair by the way it feels, the way it smells, the way it ages. We know good design because we can connect to it, understand it, use it.
We know good things innately, because we need them.
Striving for quality – as a consumer or creator – puts us up against a world designed for overconsumption, efficiency, disposability and speed. We must work harder to find it, sacrifice more to get it, and accept risk creating it. Today, making something of quality means not only providing something good to the world, but showing them what it means.
Creating and seeking quality affirms its value. It reminds people of the difference that quality can make. That quality food, furniture, music, design, films, art, writing, products, services, experiences, can be worth the wait and the price.
Quality is still out there, and the quest to create it is a noble and fulfilling one.