Seth Godin has an interesting post on “the seduction of good enough.”
In an excerpt from his post he ponders…
Is anything as good as it could be?
Maybe a cup of Starbucks coffee or a Scharffenberger chocolate bar. But almost everything else needs a lot of work.
That canoe could be half the weight. There’s no reason to wait an hour to get on an airplane. Software development should be twice as fast at half the cost.
And what’s with the layout of this keyboard? They came up with a keyboard a century ago, decided it was good enough and then stopped! Holy Carpal Tunnel, Batman.
I’ve got a few posts worth on this topic, but here are my two big ideas to start:
1. Humans tend to work on a problem until they get a good enough solution, instead of a solution that’s right.
2. The marketplace often rewards solutions that are cheaper and good enough, instead of investing in the solution that promises to lead to the right answer.
This all sounds pessimistic. Are we doomed to inefficient products, unreliable computers, overpriced services and new devices that last for a while and then just plain break?
Seth goes on to answer his question on his blog.
I think that “good enough” never is. And I think perfection never happens. What then should be our goal?
I would argue that we should strive for excellence.
Webster’s defines excellence as “the quality or state of being outstanding and superior”
Sounds a lot like Seth’s definition of a “purple cow.”
A purple cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable.
Let’s imagine something “remarkable” and build it!
Let’s write something “phenomenal” and publish it!
Let’s design the next “purple cow” and market it!