Monday, September 26, 2011

Perfect: Enemy of the Good (and the Better)

Voltaire said that  "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien," or "the best is the enemy of the good." Jeff Jarvis' contribution to End Malaria goes further and argues that the best is also the enemy of the better, because it prevents getting things done, and stymies the "process of improvement and the possibility of collaboration."  In terms of practical decision-making, pursuit of the best often leads to  "READY…AIM…AIM…AIM…AIM…AIM… Wait a minute, why am I holding a gun?"

According to Jarvis, the beta, the product in development that is released publicly for evaluation and improvement,  is the antidote to the best.  The act of shipping product and inviting customers to help complete it is transparent, humble, and generous.  And "beta-think," and the processes of innovation, experimentation and risk, can be applied to many areas in addition to software development.

Once the fear of imperfection and its paralyzing effect is removed, "we can make what we do ever better because we are never done, never satisfied, always seeking ways to improve by working in public." 

What are you going to have the courage to create and share today?