The Curse of the Moving Start Gate

Iteration is a great way to continually improve something but it’s a horrible mentality at launch time. It’s an enabler of procrastination, a comfort for fears of failure and it will always, always result in delays.

The real starting point of anything is coming to terms with the fact that it will not be as good as it could be. If you can’t figure out a way to make it better, it’s not because it’s perfect, it’s because you aren’t. There’s another angle to look at, a new thing to learn, a different theory to test, or an innovation that makes iteration obsolete. And enlightenment is pretty much the only silver lining to the dark cloud of failure.

None of this matters when you’re starting out, because any improvement you could make can only happen if there’s something to improve on. A lump of clay on a potter’s wheel may not be the shape they envisage, but it’s still a shape. It’s still on the wheel in front of them. No-one artist crafted something without taking it out of the bag (or whatever clay comes in).

There’s obviously got to be a certain amount of preparation. Outlines, objectives, outcomes. But part of that prep should also be a hard starting point. Without that, the start line will keep moving and when that begins to happen it’s a tough process to reign in, because it’s one more feature, or a bit more research or one last review.

Don’t let the need to improve get in the way of making something worth improving.

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