The Work

Simplicity

Don Linn has a very thoughtful post called “In Search of Simpler Solutions”. (I’m particularly thrilled that he cites PressBooks, which I have used and really like.)

This really stood out for me:

I’m not one of those who typically calls for publishing to “think more like Silicon Valley”, but in looking for answers to some of these knotty problems, rapid development of ‘good enough’ solutions would give many publishers a chance to move ahead without taking on major projects and the attendant costs. These aren’t easy problems, but they’re not as complex as we want to believe.

The same is true for readers – and they have shown this in droves. When the Kindle first came out, it was not all that, but it was snapped up by curious readers and then other curious readers placed tremendous demand on the market. E-ink is not perfect, but it’s good enough for a huge number of people (including kids in Ghana). Google has drawbacks as a research tool, but it is certainly good enough for most of the queries that come up in our days. Good enough, as I’ve said before, is pretty great. And it gets us where we need to go much of the time.

Spending time fretting over perfection is the specialty of artists. And when we see perfection – or a close proximity of it – we are very taken with it; it gives us something to strive towards, and our “good enoughs” get better with each iteration. This is not an argument against perfection. It’s an argument for movement – for freeing ourselves from the sticky bog of “perfect”, which is actually a distraction. Keeping your eyes on the ultimate goal – more books in more places – means that there will actually BE more books in more places. And people will consume them, even on tiny cell phones, because they are good enough to get the job done.

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