Perfect v. Good

Good enough I guess - August 18, 2020

“Perfect is the enemy of good.” Voltaire was sometimes snarky but always wise. The need to achieve perfection before shipping can cause anxieties and delays. It’s no coincidence that the most talented creators also happen to be perfectionists. Has our perfectionist culture affected the way products are designed and shipped?

Michael Siebel’s advice to founders – “if you’re not embarrassed by your first version, you’ve shipped too late.”

Does this only apply to cloud based software products? Shigeru Miyamoto, designer of the Mario and Legend of Zelda games famously noted “a delayed game is eventually good. A bad game is bad forever.” This extends further to problems of complex coordination like rocket ships, an imperfection can literally destroy everything you’ve worked for. The bar differs for everybody.

The minimum remarkable product is the solution. Instead of focusing on viability it’s the first version that provides differential value. For Elon that’s a rocket that can land itself but not the one with the touch screen controls. For the rest of us it means it’s probable time to ship.