It Isn’t Perfect– Oh Well

I’m reading this amazing blog right now called Marshall and Me.

It’s Michael Hinton, a guy I met a few months ago, writing a post every day about something or other that Marshall McLuhan wrote. He’s doing 300 posts. (I love projects that have finite endings. Rules For My Unborn Son is another.)

Anyway, it’s interesting how McLuhan seems to have all these ideas he’s toying with at all times– and he’ll talk about stuff before it’s in its finite final form, fiddling with the idea until he finds the best way to talk about it. Here he is talking about “the medium is the message” before he figured out that exact phrasing.

This process of putting something out early and then reiterating until it’s perfect is really commendable. It’s how great software is made. It’s how the best ideas develop.

I do this sometimes on my blog– write stuff out in different forms until I’m really happy with it. You should try it. Even if the thought isn’t perfect, publish anyway, you know?

Companies on the other hand apparently need to be perfect. Like Apple’s thing today (do I even need to link to it), a release must be a perfect thing. Great timing, great device, everything, or the stock price dips.

But there’s a big difference between being perfect and having to bow to everyone’s expectations… isn’t there. 😉





8 responses to “It Isn’t Perfect– Oh Well”

  1. Serge Lachapelle Avatar

    I agree. Its a great thing to experience honesty, transparency and humility. It’s an important part of the online relationship…it makes you feel like you are reading and interacting with a friend in a way…developing an idea.

    Some people have this way of unpretentiously presenting concepts and ideas in the rough, but in some logical form you can follow.

    I like it very much when I feel you are shooting from the hip…

  2. John McLachlan Avatar

    Letting go of the need for everything to be finished and perfect is very liberating.

    How I fooled myself with this notion far too often. I no longer do that. The Universe isn’t like that so why would we think we should be? Ahhh.

  3. CT Moore Avatar

    Reminds me of what Kenneth Cole said about today not being a dress rehearsal. Life is happening everyday, whether you’re ready for it or not, and if you spend too much time trying to get it perfect, trying to rehearse it, it’ll pass you by and the curtain will fall on you before your opening night.

  4. Roy Blumenthal Avatar

    It’s the rapid prototyping ethos. Put something into the world, get feedback, refine.

    The iPad, for example, is probably pretty much a killer ‘working prototype’ right now. When it’s released in a few weeks/months, it’ll probably have some feedback refinements and enhancements on board.

    When I’m doing a live visual facilitation, I don’t have the time or space for ‘perfect’. Those pictures are flowing live onto a huge screen to support a speaker’s message. I can’t say to the speaker or audience, ‘Hey! Slow down there! I just wanna do a perfect drawing of this carrot and stick you just mentioned. Come back in ten minutes!’

    The key in our new world is, ‘Can someone understand what I mean by this?’

    Thanks for the post.

    Blue skies

  5. Roy Blumenthal Avatar

    PS: in your post, you use the word ‘reiterating’. That should be ‘iterating’.

    Reiterating means repeating a point for emphasis. Iterating is an engineering term meaning approximating a right answer.

  6. Keith Burtis Avatar

    Julien, I don’t hav anything particular to add to this post. However, I need to get something off my chest. You have been a fucking inspiration to me over the lst three years. This post just struck a nerve with me. Every post you write is valuable but this post for whatever reason… a reason I don’t know yet is going to have a significant effect on me. A few month back CC was talking about moments. This is one of them for me. Thank you.

  7. Julien Avatar

    @Keith: Thanks man, I really appreciate that.

    @Roy, fixed it. Funny how many mistakes I made on this post, isn’t it? There was more than just that one. 🙂

  8. Taylor Davidson Avatar

    Why do companies need to be perfect? Is it a function of competition, or a function of how people expect companies to function?

    Or a practical realization that the exchange of money between people and companies (rather than just time, or attention between people and people) requires perfection?

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