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Good enough, ease of use, and going slowly

One of the battles I constantly wage with myself is an inner conflict between the concepts of “good enough” and perfect.

On one hand, I love the “let a thousand flowers bloom” approach. Try a bunch of things, see what sticks, and perfect it as you go. Push a product out the door at 80% and make changes based on user feedback.

On the other hand, I love products that are simple, feel complete, and just work. As a user, I don’t want something 80% done. I want something perfect.

This piece in Fast Company on Tony Fadell, who helped bring the world the iPod and is now launching a radical new approach to thermostats, resonates with me…

Fadell has plans for a full thermostat ecosystem - multifunction, iOS-like software upgrades, connecting with lots of devices. But for now, he's just offering the ability to control it from any laptop or mobile device. That's because Apple taught him to go slow: Let people understand and buy into the device, then build a world around them step-by-step.

I had a (strikingly obvious) moment of awareness after reading that. It’s the intersection of good enough and perfect.

Rather than pushing a half-baked idea out the door, pushed a fully-baked but feature-lite one instead. Then you can add on features based on what people say is missing or what they want, but the core product is still great.