Think back to your days in school (or for those of you still there, recall last month!) You know what was worse than handing in a crappy paper? Not handing in anything at all. We’ve all been there – we have great ideas, we spend a fair bit of time doing research and we come with lots of new, interesting choices about where to take our discussion. In fact, sometimes we have so many good choices that we get hung up trying to pick the perfect one and end up missing our deadline or handing in a rush job. Good bye brilliance; hello remedial English.
Business is the same way and I’ve found the digital business in particular to suffer from Voltaire’s favorite enemy: perfection.
One awful thing about business on the web, aside from the fact that it’s always open, is that it’s never done. A site is never “finished” in the sense of a magazine or a TV show. New technology changes the platform; new social memes demand we provide different interactivity. It’s worse as you’re designing. Site builds can take time and during that period in between locking down art and functionality, inevitably someone thinks of something that’s not perfect. Move a widget, lighten a shade of blue. It can always be better and dammit, for the money we’re spending it’s going to be.
Good idea, admirable desires. But like our term papers, the end result is either non-existent or rush jobs that don’t reflect all our good work. I suspect it’s this way in other businesses as well – paralysis by analysis? – but the thing about digital is that it’s way easier to fix it. Unlike a making a toy or manufacturing a car, we don’t have to make new molds or retool. We just change a bit of code and we’re fixed.
I’m a fan of high standards but I’m also a fan of taking action. Those need not be mutually exclusive. The Perfect really can be the enemy of The Good and I think absolute perfection isn’t possible. So quit designing, editing, and planning: do something!