Good Not Perfect

Daniel April 8, 201412:37 pm

I’m a little early for this one, but we’ll be starting around 4pm DC time!

Daniel April 8, 201412:59 pm

Andrew Shuping from Jack Tarver Library at Mercer University. Hit him up as @ashuping on Twitter.

Daniel April 8, 20141:00 pm


Daniel April 8, 20141:01 pm

Mercer University, you might know them as the team who beat Duke. 🙂

Daniel April 8, 20141:02 pm

Perfection is the Enemy of Perfect – small title change.

Daniel April 8, 20141:02 pm

Or perfection is the enemy of good.

Daniel April 8, 20141:03 pm

How many of you who were artists learned to STOP when you think it’s good enough?

I was, because I have totally screwed up something because I did that one last thing. And it really was that *one last thing.*

Daniel April 8, 20141:04 pm

There’s a bit more to it than simply stopping when it’s good enough, but it’s also about making mistakes.

Daniel April 8, 20141:05 pm

Three things:
Holding on to things until it’s absolutely perfect.

Fixing things that no one else will ever notice and that will need to be changed again soon.

The art of art.

Daniel April 8, 20141:05 pm

Perfection is a hard thing to overcome.

Daniel April 8, 20141:06 pm

The thing is, it’s hard to define what perfection *is* for a given thing. After all, what’s perfection for instruction? What’s perfection in library work?

Daniel April 8, 20141:07 pm


We will not be applying this topic of perfection to people who are, say, doctors, lawyers, or engineers.

Daniel April 8, 20141:07 pm

This isn’t a motivational speech, even if it begins to sound like one.

Daniel April 8, 20141:08 pm

Why do we have a focus on perfection?

Growing up how many times did we hear we were supposed to be perfect? “Practice makes perfect.”

Daniel April 8, 20141:09 pm

We always hear about “go for the gold” “give 100%” “never settle.”

Daniel April 8, 20141:09 pm

The question is, what happens when we *don’t* get those?

For instance, what happens to gold medal Olympic winners? Heard much from most of them recently?

Daniel April 8, 20141:10 pm

When we don’t get the feedback we expect?

Daniel April 8, 20141:11 pm

It’s really hard to not settle for what were actually going for.

Daniel April 8, 20141:12 pm

The Pieta – by MIchelangelo. He constantly kept going back to fiddle with it, even when it was in place.

Daniel April 8, 20141:14 pm

Leonardo Da Vinci was (in)famous for this as well. The Battle of Anghiari. – He never completed it. This is Ruben’s copy, because Da Vinci’s is lost. Leonardo was never happy with it.

Daniel April 8, 20141:15 pm

It often feels like we have a dragon watching over us. Perfection is a demon.

Daniel April 8, 20141:15 pm

We live in the world of the “perpetual beta.” Nothing is ever finished, or it’s finished years later.

Daniel April 8, 20141:17 pm

The reports –

Write up a few pages about the most important things

The Dean gets a compilation of reports and submits something that’s only three pages long.

The President gets something maybe one page long/

Then it’s turned into three bullet points on a PowerPoint slide.

Daniel April 8, 20141:19 pm

The thing that you are obsessing over now will probably not matter all that much in a couple of years. Reports and proposals – it’s great to cross t’s and dot i’s, but make sure the damn thing goes forward at all.

Daniel April 8, 20141:21 pm

Making video tutorials about tech. Keep in mind that your video will probably be outdated in months… if not sooner. Why stress over something that’s going to be obsolete in a few weeks? Just move on it, and move on.

Daniel April 8, 20141:23 pm

As a person with Asperger’s, sometimes I think too logically. “We’ve spent six months on this, no one will notice, or care, about a six second bit of imperfection.” Go live and launch.

EDITORIAL: Totally agree. In this day and age, things can be fixed as you go. You just have to assess whether it’s worth the time and trouble.

Daniel April 8, 20141:23 pm

Perfection is not the ideal.

COMPLETION is the ideal.

Daniel April 8, 20141:24 pm

Don’t let someone dim your light simply because it’s shining in their eyes.

Daniel April 8, 20141:25 pm

Is it easy to stand up here and talk about it and say perfection is not allowed? No, it’s not. It’s easy to stand up and saying it, but the fact is you need to deal with it in your life and job.

Daniel April 8, 20141:25 pm

Perfection is a myth, it doesn’t exist. It’s the siren song of any project.

Daniel April 8, 20141:26 pm

Perpetual beta – Whenever you launch a new project, new proposal, new whatever — put it in beta. Things in beta are expected to have flaws, and no one minds the flaws because, after all – it’s just a beta.

Daniel April 8, 20141:28 pm

Try things out. See what happens. You don’t *know* what’s going to happen. You don’t *know* what your users want until you ask and until you actually do something.

Daniel April 8, 20141:28 pm

BE WILLING TO FAIL. Failure is always an option and it’s not a bad thing. Failure is quite often the first step towards success.

Daniel April 8, 20141:29 pm

Failure is only truly failure if you don’t learn from it.

Daniel April 8, 20141:29 pm

Give back – make things better. What went wrong, why, what do we do about it.

Daniel April 8, 20141:29 pm

Face your fears and find support. The support system is important.

Daniel April 8, 20141:30 pm

Add your Spock to your Kirk. (Or the other way around.)

There are people out there who know more than you do. They are part of your resources.

Daniel April 8, 20141:31 pm

Don’t forget to play along the way. 🙂

Daniel April 8, 20141:31 pm

No one is perfect, that’s why pencils have erasers.

Daniel April 8, 20141:32 pm

Everything you do will have flaws, accept that. Do the best you can, but recognize that it’s not going to perfect.

Daniel April 8, 20141:35 pm

For seven years, the library address in the system was spelled Lirbary. NO ONE NOTICED FOR SEVEN YEARS.

Daniel April 8, 20141:35 pm

I didn’t notice, and no one else did for seven years either. No one died, and no kittens were harmed in the mis-spelling of library.

Daniel April 8, 20141:36 pm

Mistakes happen.

Instead of giving encouragement for trying and failing, we’re telling students and ourselves that mistakes are wrong. Yet mistakes are absolutely *certain.*

Daniel April 8, 20141:36 pm

Make U Turns.

Daniel April 8, 20141:36 pm

Be yourself, because everybody else is taken.

Daniel April 8, 20141:38 pm

When making a team, I realize the things I cannot do – so I try to add people to the team who can do those things.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see