Getting started > Perfection


Back in Summer of 2017, I was in Treviso, Italy when Jake Knapp gave a presentation on his Design Sprint. There was one slide that stood out and stuck with me for years after: Getting Started > Perfection


It's a simple concept. It's more important to get started than to obsess over perfection. However, this is easier said than done.

The first product you are going to build is guaranteed to not be perfect. That's the beauty of iteration. So, the faster you get started, the faster you will iterate and get to the Northstar vision.

I believe that our obsession with perfection is the enemy of innovation. There are millions of ways to build an idea but if we don't pursue a single path because we are not sure whether it is the best path, we will ultimately have made zero progress.

I once heard how Pandora employees manually curated songs for their first thousands of customers. Had Pandora dwelled over creating Machine Learning models to create perfect suggestions before launching, they might have never launched.

I love discovering these hacky and creative ideas that companies have made to test product market fit. Instead of expending large resources, there are ways to quickly test ideas.

Another example is Airbnb. In the early days, Brian Chesky and his co-founders traveled to NYC to investigate why people weren't booking stays. They discovered that hosts didn't know how to take quality photos of their homes. Instead of booking professional photographers and building out infrastructure, the founders went around door-to-door and took photos for their customers. Hear the story from Brian Chesky (43:05-45:40)

Similarly to Pandora and Airbnb, when you start working on a new project, think about how you can provide value for one person. Yes, the goal is to reach millions and billions of people but you can't just start there. You need to get started with one customer.

Many people have a backlog of ideas and projects. Ask yourself why you haven't started on yours. Are you too obsessed with perfection? Are you afraid that the first version won't be good?

Remember: Getting Started > Perfection

Thanks to Young Kim for reading drafts of this.

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