You Don’t Start Perfect

If you don’t ship, it doesn’t matter how perfect your idea is.

I don’t know if I am blessed with a curse or cursed with a blessing. With just about anything, I can easily see the end-goal; I can see the finish line and all the steps between where I am standing and that point.

I can easily break down the necessary tasks to reach that goal.

Sounds good, right?

But then I start looking at ways to perfect it. I start adding details, behind the scene templates, If/Then arguments.

I add complexities, ironically, to provide simplicity. I look for ways of adding automation, processes, and scalability to make a once simple path between Point A and Point B more fluid.

Here’s the thing: that added complexity, and the understanding of how to add those steps, is paralyzing. It quickly turns from achieving the objective to building a repeatable, automated machine that will work with little effort once completed.

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”

Which is a great axiom, but of little use if you never get around to cutting the tree down. If you’re stuck thinking about ways to sharpen the ax head, improve the handle, decrease friction, improve automation, and increase the striking power of each chop — you’ll never cut down the tree.

We don’t start perfect.

Build a prototype, sand down the rough edges, then ship.

Your first attempt will not be perfect. It doesn’t have to be, it shouldn’t be.