Here’s what we used to do:

Create —> Edit —> Launch

Here’s what happens now:

Create —> Launch —> Edit —> Launch —> repeat

Someone asked me which post on this blog represented the turning point of its growth. The ‘breakthrough’ post. It turns out that there wasn’t one. Instead, there were 2,500 posts, one after the other, each building (and I was learning from each) as we went.

Wikipedia is built on a bold idea: launch with a few hundred mediocre articles. Challenge people to add a few more. And then, day after day, layer on top of that, improving each one, improving a hundred thousand of them, improving a million of them. One after another, layer after layer.

Squidoo is a bit different. Let each person layer their own page, instead of a crowd. And then, as time goes by and the crowd gets bigger, the new folks are smarter (and building better pages) because they’ve watched the results that others have layered up.

Organizations that make the same mistakes every day (hidebound ones, rulebook based ones, airlines) rarely get to layer. They don’t grow and improve, because they’re not organized to do so.

And thus the challenge. We live in a layered world now. Those that plan and plan and then launch are always going to be at a disadvantage to the layerers.