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Jica

I would not bet the kitchen sink on the resliionahtp. It is also not a Good idea to put too much into what happened while you were disengaged. Remember the don't ask don't tell in the military well don't set yourself up for grief by opening locked doors. When He is ready to tell you stuff He will. If he keeps defensive there must be something to the activity but don't forget men think with their package most of the time and not their hearts. Go forward With things and do not torment yourself. If you do not trust him now how will it be years down the road when you have less youth to offer and He is around hot babes. If you take care of business and keep his interest then there is nothing to worry about. Suspicion does more damage than hidden affairs because most of the time it is greatly overblown. his guilt will settle things without you fooling around. That is if he has something to be guilty about. guys and girls should have good friends among the opposite sex and their partners should not get upset by it.

James Birchall

Bob,

In software we have the Agile Software approach which attempts to solve this problem. If you haven't read the Agile Manifesto, I'd recommend you check it out (http://agilemanifesto.org/)

We try to keep it simple and crude and then polish it incrementally to be as best we can before we run out of time/budget. That way, we always have something to show (and get feedback upon), have a deadline and constraints to work against, and have as much quality as we can afford.

It is predicated upon an interested customer though: someone that is willing to give good feedback clearly and frequently.

Kate

In the news business, we constantly juggle the problem of getting it done perfectly and just getting it done, because of our deadlines. The goal is to be accurate, fair and eloquent, but when time is tight, most good editors give up eloquent to make sure we have the first two. I once had a boss who didn't get that idea and would keep people for hours after deadline because he had to rewrite everything to meet his vision of perfection. This ended after it was pointed out how much he was costing in overtime for press crews, drivers, etc.

I think the phrase "the perfect is the enemy of the good" applies - seeking perfection can make it hard to do the job well, since perfect usually doesn't exist.

Sean Schubert

There are decreasing marginal returns when working on anything.

The question is at what point is that next hour of work better spent on taking the next idea off the ground.

Bruce Lynn

I think this tension is a variation of the Leadership/Management balance. 'Leaders get things right; Managers get things done'. A bit of a twist on Bennis' famous 'Leaders do the right things, Managers do things right.' In this case, doing 'things right' starts with getting them done in the first place.

Nicolay Worren

Bob, this time I suspect you prioritized "getting it done", since you ended up writing forward rather than foreword. As a Norwegian, this is an easy error to spot since "foreword" has its origins in the norse word "forord" (literally "a word that comes before").

Michael F. Martin

Amazingly, I wrote something almost exactly like what Nivi wrote before I lost it on my iPhone. There is no single correct balance. It depends on the audience. Inexperience with particular audiences suggests an iterative approach, expanding the circle with feedback at each iteration.

I would add that I believe bloggers have created a unique culture because of their self-selection into blogging; bloggers are naturally more open to feedback and iterative approaches. I have learned the hard way that offline culture requires a more cautious approach. Some people people seem to take offense at being questioned by somebody more junior in terms of years, &c. Chicago was a disservice to me in this regard. Where else is the Greek ideal of discourse manifest?

Ellie

I tend to find it's done when I can't be bothered any more, I find I tend to run out of patience earlier with the less important things. That's not particularly helpful, I know, but it works for me!

Incidentally, I rather preferred your paragraph to Recruiting Animal's. The correction may have been more grammatically accurate but it lacked personality. I liked the mental image you gave me of your evening in front of the TV. Which just goes to show, one person's edit is someone else's overworking - you just can't please everyone.

Nivi

I wonder if there really is a significant tension between getting it done and getting it right. In order to get it done right you have to get it done wrong. You put something out there, you get feedback and you iterate. That's what happened with Recruiting Animal and The Peter Principle foreward.

You progressively disclose revisions to larger and more critical audiences. You might start with a tweet, turn it into a blog post, then a talk, then a book.

If you don't have significant distribution to start with, your audience will naturally expand as the quality of the revisions expand. If you *do* have signficant distribution to start with, then you create different groups of people and gradually disclose to each group as the quality of the revisions increases.

In either case, I think reducing cycle time is a good heuristic for increasing the rate of improvement of revisions. Look at the not-so-great-stuff that Google releases all the time despite their giant distribution (Google Base, Lively, etc.)

What do you think?

Bob Sutton

Josh/recruiting animal,

Thanks, I need all the help I can get and your editing did make it better.

Bob

Recruiting Animal

Thanks. Some guys wd have found a way to ban me from their blog.

But this entry was well written.

I suspect you were talking to yourself mentally when you wrote the last one and, with a second look, would have sorted out the stuff that required participation in the conversation to make perfect sense.

And PS: thanks to @JohnSumser for pointing this entry out to me. I gotta admit it was fun to get a pleasant nod.

Dan Markovitz

It may be helpful to remember the words of Joyce Carol Oates: "A piece of writing is never finished, only abandoned."

(Of course, I've seen this wisdom attributed to both Leonardo da Vinci and Paul Valery, so I'm not sure of the origin. But the point is well-taken.)

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