In “We Don’t Sell Saddles Here” Stewart Butterfield elaborates on the importance of looking hard at your results and finding the things that do not work.

Stewart’s message reminds me of this magnificent scene in Whiplash with Terence Fletcher (played by J. K. Simmons), a cut-throat instructor in a music conservatory who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Justifying his, very mildly said, harsh way of teaching Terence explains to his student:

There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “Good Job”.

Both Terence Fletcher and Stewart Butterfield make the point that you should be harsh (foremost to yourself), in the interest of being excellent.

Because, as Stewart puts it, why else would you even want to be alive but to do things as well as you can?

Originally published at

Alexander Kitov

Product Manager and Entrepreneur. Passionate about solving hard problems with technology. Crypto believer, continuous learner and tennis enthusiast.

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