When is a product finished?

It’s certainly not when it is perfect.

Perfection is unachievable. Holding out for it wastes time. The longer you wait, the more your product loses its value.

This is why media criticism is too easy. With media, the value of the product diminishes in minutes. It’s better to produce an imperfect article sooner, rather than a more perfect article later.

With airplanes, the timeline changes. Boeing has faced numerous delays with its 787 airplane program. On some level, the delays are worth the wait, because although there is diminishing value with time, the customers demand a safety level that is closer to perfection.

In the content production business (news, analysis, software design, Web design) — editing, correction, guidance and oversight help you to minimize mistakes. They help you to preserve value and reduce time.

Always remember: edits are not insults. They create value.

Here’s my crude chart to illustrate my point. You need to find the sweet spot of perfection versus value. Value drops over time. Perfection increases over time.

Chart shows perfection and value parabolas, where perfection increases with time, but value decreases. The sweet spot is where the two lines meet.

This is an imperfect analogy, of course. (Theme alert: I didn’t spend a lot of time on it.)

Thinking about this helps me to not be paralyzed by imperfection.