Good is the enemy of perfect

Good is the enemy of perfect
Photo by Felix Mittermeier / Unsplash

According to lore, "perfect is the enemy of good." That's what people teach, preach, and do. But a different perspective can give you new purpose, your companies new ideas, or even skyrocket your personal growth. Here's an anecdote that makes it clear.

Consider Jack, who heads a distributed team that communicates using the clicks of morse code on telegraphs. Jonathan, a newcomer, thinks that it is simpler to just "speak" and be "heard" on the other end. Sadly, the telephone hasn't been invented yet. But Jack doesn't think a "telephone" is a good idea because there is "no communication problem that needs to be solved."

Like a budding entrepreneur, Jonathan quits and starts with market research. "Would you like to hear the voice of your grandchildren on the other side of the continent?" was one of Jonathan's questions. He gets a resounding yes from grandparents who wanted to connect with family. So he goes ahead and invents the telephone.

Jack and his team are the laggards who eventually switch to the telephone not because it's better, but because it's now generally available and more convenient to obtain. Despite using the telephone daily, they're still not the "target market."

Just because someone will adopt a solution once it is ready, does not mean they will invest in the creation of that solution. And an often unrecognised barrier to a "more perfect" solution is a "good one" that already exists.