done is better than perfect

in the couple of years since finishing grad school, i’ve had a lot of ideas (many of them in collaboration with several good friends). and, for better or worse, very few of those ideas have gotten off the ground (probably around 20%). this, to me, is a problem.

having noticed this trend in myself, i’m trying my best to put an end to it. i’ve been inspired by jessica hirsch (via design matters), @femmebot (of, the done manifesto, and some other folks who just put stuff out into the world.

they’ve inspired me to adopt an mvp model for almost everything in my life. i stumbled upon the value of mvps, minimum viable products, from eric ries. his book, the lean startup, and this specific list of mvp examples really got me thinking about how helpful mvp thinking is.

so now i’m generalizing the techniques to my life. that has resulted in two specific pieces of advice that i give myself and others.

  1. get going. this means using processes that work for you to get whatever it is done.
  2. done is better than perfect (lately popularized by sheryl sandberg in lean in). this means minimizing/removing any barriers that slow you down from getting going.

so what does it look like irl? example: this blog. i have serious anxiety about writing. but, to get going, i just set up a tumblr because it was the easiest process for me (i set up tumblrs in my sleep). and then, to make sure that done was better than perfect, i set a constraint for myself that to just hit publish after writing for 10 minutes. that’s it. (well, i also use to write now and i don’t count research/link-hunting time in the 10 minutes, but whatever). anyway…

i’m really starting to believe that an idea that’s out in the world, imperfect as it may be, is better than one that just exists in your brain. and now i’m getting a lot more things out into the world. 

good stuff.