Focus on Learning Rather than Perfection

The pursuit of perfection is a ruthlessly efficient killer of ideas. Whether fear that we don’t have the ability to make something “perfect enough” or the temptation to endlessly refine something because of some arbitrary feeling that it’s “not ready,” we smother our ideas with unrealistic dreams of perfection.

Now that’s not to say that we shouldn’t pursue quality, but there’s a fine line between quality and perfection. Also, when you strive for perfection without insight from real users, there’s a good chance you’re striving in the wrong direction. The long you wait to launch and get real feedback, the more likely you’ll have spent your energy in the wrong ways.

The cycle is simple. Build. Launch. Learn. Adjust. Without the learning, you likely have an incorrect definition of what truly represents perfection. Moreover, the longer you wait to launch, the longer you’ll be waiting to generate the revenue that will enable you to move closer to perfection.

Think of perfection at the macro level as if it’s an unending pursuit. Aim for it, but be reasonable. Without putting a business idea out there into the world, it can’t be perfected. This is why startups pivot. It’s also the reason that it’s perfectly reasonable to abandon projects if you launch them and they don’t get traction.

The best way to make perfection attainable is to simply do less. It’s easier to write a single perfect sentence than it is to write an entire perfect book of sentences. Of course, without self control, even a single sentence can be tweaked endlessly. Simplify that feature. Start with a smaller stepping-stone product.

It’s not perfection you want but constant improvement. Is it better today than it was yesterday? Is it better this week than last week? That’s the kind of perfection that works, but for a business, that kind of perfection requires a feedback loop so you can learn.

So draw a line in the sand. Launch. Learn. And then inch closer to perfection bit by bit. You’ll never get there, but you’ll be heading in the right direction.