05 December 2005


I just finished reading Survival is not Enough by Seth Godin. Great book -- it's a manifesto (I think that's all Godin writes) about running a company in alignment with evolutionary theory as applied to the idea structure of the organization. (I think I got that right.) The manifesto wears a bit thin in places, but overall it's a very valid concept. Instead of resisting or neglecting or declaring war on change, companies in the "new economy" should let change "call the tune".

Two little pieces of this memetic puzzle he's built jumped up and bit me on the nose: "The Power of Prototypes" and "Better Beats Perfect".

"The Power of Prototypes"

Writes Godin, "Prototypes are, by definition, rough drafts, designed to be wrong, not right." He suggests a radical approach to prototyping: do a lot of it, and hang them out for everyone to see. He cites the success Chrysler has had with rolling out mind-blowing concept cars (The Viper, The Prowler, the PT Cruiser.)

"Better Beats Perfect"

"Isaac Asimov wrote a new book every six weeks. Some of the books were classics, some were merely good. All of them, however, were far better than the books J. D. Salinger never wrote." It's dumb to wait until something is "perfect" before launching it. "Perfect" can take a lifetime to achieve. Get your product out, and fine tune it over time.

This reminds me of something a college professor once told me. "You have to know when to say 'that's good enough' and just walk away from the canvas." Words of wisdom.

I'm also reminded of an anecdote from Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without a Crew. He wrote about this experiment in a pottery class. Half the class was graded on quantity and the other half on quality. At the end of the term, the quantity guys -- who had hundreds of completed pieces each -- were creating beautiful pieces of artwork. The quality guys on the other hand hadn't made more than a few finished pieces each, and none of them approaching the level of mastery of the quantity guys.

So in this spirit, I've decided to go ahead and just shoot my first episode. No more waiting until I "really know what I'm doing." (I'd be waiting a long time.)

BUT, I'm building in a safety net: I'm calling this first episode a "protopilot." Sort of a combination of the terms "prototype" and "pilot." The idea is, this is going to be rough. It's sort of like a previsualization, but intended to be seen by the [gulp] public-at-large.

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