I’m a “done is better than perfect” creator. It’s not that I’m not unaware of the many imperfections that go out the door. Part of me really, really wants to keep them under wraps until they are better. But I prefer to be shipping.
The fear of shipping “done is better than perfect” is that people will see my work and make conclusions about the level of quality I am capable of providing.
Because most people have this fear, most people only put out their (often long-delayed) “best” work. Or none at all since nothing is ever ideal. Because most people have this fear, they assume you also are putting out your best possible work.
I’ve built up sufficient immunity to the reactions that can happen when I do “done is better than perfect”. Though it’s not without the occasional stinging judgment of the armchaired perfectionists.
But that’s not what I want to talk about here.
This post is about how sometimes the “draft” version quickly becomes the “final” version. How when you put together a prototype, sometimes you don’t realize how long it might stick around, despite being “draft”. Or how some of the aspects will become part of your DNA.
The “bird” in the Hi 5 program at the Eureka Room was just a stand-in sketch. The plan was to replace it with a photo of a real bird. But in the meantime I showed the program to friends and they thought the bird was funny and said I should keep it. Not only did I keep it, but the “MS Paint” style became much of the aesthetic of the room that fans love.
And, it’s way easier and cheaper for me to do. Had I waited until perfect, the Eureka Room might have been something else entirely.
There’s many examples.
When I put a stand-in image or music or graphic and start building out the program it starts to stick. After a while it’s not so easy to take it out. Sometimes – like the bird – that’s great. Sometimes it’s trickier. Like when I’ve used someone else’s copyrighted material as a reference and need to yank it out after I’ve scaffolded on top of it. Ugh.
Another example of draft not being so drafty is the Eureka Room location.
When finding the first brick and mortar location, I had considered a few locations pretty seriously. One of them was an OK fit but due to the neighbors I could only operate in the evenings and weekends. I didn’t think this would be a big deal since I was fully in the mindset that this location was “just to test it out”. I wasn’t looking to book full weeks of guests. As a first tentative step, I just wanted to see if I could break even.
But I found and moved into the current space which was in a much better location. I was still of the mindset that this was just a “test” to see if I could book out the weekends.
But here we are just six months later and last week we had over 200 guests. Not only that, but we get loads of bookings for weekday daytimes.
Now I look at this “test” and can see that it is more than a test. It’s an actual profitable business. This morning I’m going out to look at another property that would allows us to expand. That would not have happened or been possible with just the “test” run in the weekend-only location I considered.
It’s worth contemplating in the drafting process (especially if a particular part of a draft is central to the work or the work is starting to evolve around a specific part): What would happen if this was left when we put it into production? What would it take to remove it from the final draft? What would it take away from the work to remove this part?