I'm a frequent reader of the Good Experience blog. These guys do a great job making me think about focusing on the simple things that customers really appreciate. A good experience is so much more than flashy UI--it is about knowing how your customer uses your product and nailing the most important aspects.

http://www.goodexperience.com/blog/archives/2007_01.php 

"If anything, I usually find that innovation means going back to basics - the old things, the obvious, the simple, the non-fashionable things - and offering those to customers who really just want a better experience. "

One of the things I enjoyed about the opportunity to redesign Access 2007 was going back and working on parts of the product that hadn't been touched in years--"going back to basics." The team did an amazing job dusting out the cob webs in the engine, forms, and reports and breathing some new life into them. IMO - it is so important to listen to your customers by where they are voting with their feet. With the new customer experience program we have a very good idea what most people are doing in the product. This information helps us focus on improving areas of the product that are important to our customers. There are real challenges of balancing the needs of developers while making the product easier to use and ensuring new users can be successful building applications. 

Sorry for the rant--I think it is important to keep improving core parts of software that everyone is using. As a designer--you can't ever be satisfied. I take pride in the simple list of old issues that were fixed by Access 2007.

Here is another blog posts from 37Signals fireside chat with Seth Godin and Mark Hurst. These guys have lots of passion for doing the right thing for your customer.

http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/237-fireside-chat-seth-godin-and-mark-hurst-part-1-of-2