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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Better is the Enemy of Good Enough

Again borrowing from a friend and a great reminder to myself!

May 24, 2005
Another way to put it is that "You don't have to get it right. You just have to get it going." And as my mentor Raymond Aaron says, "If something is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly."Does this mean we compromise on quality? Absolutely not! In our search for perfection, however, we can sometimes get bogged down in focusing on every little detail and we lose sight of the bigger picture. If what you are working on is worthy enough for your effort, then it is also worthy enough to be sent out into the marketplace, even if it is not yet perfect.In the software development world, we call this "creeping elegance". With writing, as with software coding, we can always make something better. We can do another edit, we can rewrite or tune up the product a little more to make it even better. But while we're doing that, we are not shipping it. To quote Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, "Great companies ship!".You cannot get accurate marketplace feedback on the product that is still sitting on the drawing board, or in your desk drawer so to speak.I had a great experience with my book Water: The Miracle Cure that illustrates this. In a burst of inspiration, I wrote the book in about 2 weeks. I had made discoveries about the healing powers of plain water that I wanted to share with others. It was intended as a mini-book, something you might find at the supermarket checkout stand. As I started to distribute the "finished" manuscript I began to get valuable feedback that indicated it should be published as an E-book AND as a trade paperback book that would be available in bookstores as well.In addition to that, I started to get comments on the text as well as numerous ideas for improving it. The current distribution of the E-book is a much more thorough version than what I started with. And I still have some changes I want to make before we get to the trade paperback stage.If I had waited until the manuscript was "perfect", I think I still would be working on trying to finish that book. Instead, I have given the information some important initial distribution and received feedback that will make the bookstore edition truly useful.What things are you hanging onto that could and should be released into public, even though they are not completely perfect? What can you get going, without necessarily having to get it right? What are you trying to make better, when it is already good enough?
-- posted by Beth at 5/24/2005


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