Auckland, New Zealand

March 5, 2017

The Perfect and the Good

This coming Tuesday, I'll get on a plane to leave New Zealand, on basically the day I thought I'd leave. The only thing that's different from that plan is everything. :)

Three months ago, my plan after NZ was to make a brief pass through the United States to see some friends, pick up a visa, and move to Tunisia. Now it's to meet my partner's and my families, then return here to Auckland.

It's been an unexpected journey, a properly surprising plot twist. But now, finally, it feels like I'm starting to find my footing.

This week, I dug into finishing up the recordings for the upcoming 7-Day Sprint course (using the sprint myself to get them done - why not?) and almost immediately, I was swept up in the excitement of what the course is, and what it does.

I'm a maker - always have been - and one of the most satisfying things for me to experience is the process of bringing something to life in a previously blank space.

It could be a garden, an Adirondack chair, a piece of slam poetry, some software or a coaching course. There's joy in the making, and I'm powered and inspired and sustained by it like nothing else.

But along with that joy comes another motivation - the desire to make something better, better, better.

"This is simple and good. … better." - da Vinci

Fifteen years ago, when I was leading some software projects at a university in California, my boss called me in to ask for an update on why a certain project was taking longer than expected.

I barreled through an explanation of how we were trying to build it right, to account for all possible future scenarios, and make the most beautiful, flexible thing. He listened, nodded, and then said,

"Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good."

I hated that quote, and it stuck with me in the way that all things that are true that we don't like tend to - a persistent stickiness on our fingers that just won't wash out.

These days, after a few epic second system syndrome failures, I think that philosophy is both right and wrong. It's true that something good that's out in the world is better than a theoretical perfect that never gets there. But there's also something to quality - each of us can spot a well-crafted, well-honed thing, and we appreciate it.

The balance, it seems, is to make quality things that also get done.

As I've re-engaged with finishing up the 7-Day Sprint, that's been my focus. How can I make something that's going to last, that's powerful and simple and useful to people? And how can I get that into your hands, in a real and defined time?

After living through this past week of making and improving, it feels like the answer is to just stay aligned, and move towards the intersection where the passions converge. I'm passionate about making the best thing possible, and I'm passionate about getting it into your hands.

The spot where those two meet? That's where magic happens. :)

Have a wonderful week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I read all week is thought-provoking, and unsettling - it's about the neuroscience of why facts don't change our minds.

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