Thursday, July 25, 2013

Focusing on Quality over Quantity? Maybe you shouldn't

This post popped up on HackerNews which is pretty inspirational: "I'm learning to code by building 180 websites in 180 days. Today is day 115" (JenniferDewalt). But it was the first comment by Derek Sivers that is really resonating with me:

There’s this great story from the book “Art and Fear”, that's very appropriate here:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.

All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: 50 pounds of pots rated an “A”, 40 pounds a “B”, and so on.

Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work-and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
I'm in the middle of trying to pivot, exploring a lot of ideas I've had on the backburner for a while. This is just a good reminder not to get bogged down in trying to make things perfect but to focus more on creating and executing.

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