Polishing the Apple

Real Artists Ship – Steve Jobs

When you are working on a product, feature or even service there are two competing ideals.  On the one hand, you want the product to be perfect and work well with no bugs.  On the other hand, you want to just ship it, to let it go to market even though it really, really sucks and all of the charm has been removed.  How much should one polish the apple before it is sent to the marketplace?

There must be a balance and a best practice.  My suggestion is to lean towards polishing a little more than others.  It has become easier and easier to ship.  Technology is better in almost every way and getting to market is easier than ever.  The key today is to ship with something that makes a difference.  It’s that difference that will be success/failure.  This doesn’t mean only ship perfect products.  It means that if you spend 15% more time on it, the results may be much more positive than 15%.  I call that a disproportionate benefit.

This doesn’t mean that you should polish forever.  Real Artists Ship!  I am suggesting that we collectively spend 15% too little time on things.  The joy is in that 15%.

Think about what you are working on right now.  What would you do if you had a little more time to do it?  How much is that worth?  I bet it’s worth more than the little bit of time it takes to do it.



Whatya think?