Perfect is the enemy of good. No doubt about it.
The excellent feedback I got from readers made it eminently clear that you agree with this sentiment. If you don’t ship, it’s not really worth doing. More important, we’ve only got a finite amount of time and resources to invest in anything (thanks, Chris Morris). The real issue is this: when do we stop working on something (because it’s good enough) and work on some other element of the offering.
When do we stop working on making a keyboard better and start working on the packaging or the promotion? When do we accept the status quo as unchangeable because the marketplace has embraced a standard, and then put our effort into less earthshattering, but presumably higher leverage tasks?
If you riff through your top 10 great successes of the last decade (you pick your field, doesn’t matter) aren’t most of them areas where someone refused to accept that the industry’s status quo wasn’t good enough, and instead set out to change a fundamental rule of that industry?
Maxwell House settled. Howard at Starbucks didn’t. American settled, Jet Blue didn’t. Vogue settled, Daily Candy didn’t.
I’m not arguing that nothing is good enough. Far from it. Every time I give a speech, I spend two slides saying, "everything is good enough" and at some levels, I’m totally right. But for those that are intent on creating something remarkable, it seems that the attractive vision is to believe precisely the opposite, at least about the stuff you care about.