Don’t Let Perfect be the Enemy of Good

Marc Randolph
3 min readDec 6, 2023

Something is always better than nothing.

Maybe it was the turkey, but I just couldn’t get motivated last week. So here it is, Monday afternoon, and I am just starting to write this week’s blog post. It’s due in two hours.

Now had I been in this situation several years ago, it would have been hugely stressful. I can’t write a quality post quickly, so the inherent stress of trying to conjure up something thoughtful would have been multiplied by my fear of publishing something below my standards and compounded by my guilt at missing a deadline.

But social media changed all that.

Once I started banging away at Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok, it didn’t take long to realize I was completely incompetent at predicting what would resonate. The things I polished for days got crickets. The piece I banged off in 30 seconds got millions of views.

It quickly taught me that consistency was way more important than quality. Better to post something every day — even if you threw it together at the last minute — than to only post “your best work” every few weeks.

Modern media is self-correcting. If something I created was terrible — well then, the algorithm would only show it to a handful of people — sparing me further humiliation. But if something I created was good, it was automatically amplified.

I learned that the trick is not to obsess over things being perfect. Getting something — anything — done is more important. It’s the foundation of the 80/20 rule. It’s why we say “Perfection is the enemy of good enough.” And it’s true in so many things

In Entrepreneurship … I’ve learned it’s impossible to tell if it’s a good idea in advance, so I no longer waste time “thinking things through.” Instead, my mind immediately switches to searching for some quick, cheap, and easy way to test it. A dozen sloppy tests teach me more than a single perfect one.

In Self Improvement … I’ve learned that if I want to lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or be more productive, the key is to pick something small and stick to it. I’m on day 435 of Duolingo not because I have the discipline to study for an hour each day, but because no matter how busy I get, I can always squeeze in a single 3-minute lesson.

In Exercise … I can’t always fit in a long run (nor do I always feel like it)… so fine, I’ll just do a couple of miles. Infinitely better than doing nothing.

In Writing … my 2023 New Year’s resolution was to do at least one blog post every week. Are they all going to be good? Of course not. But if I had insisted that they need to be…I would have broken my streak many months ago.

I know that this doesn’t work for everything. When I wrote my book I knew that once the book was published, my stories would be locked in place forever. I did dozens of editing passes. But still, years later, I continue to find things I wish I had fixed. Author Tom Winton nailed it when he said, “You never actually finish writing a novel, you just abandon it.”

So, I know this post is not going to be my best work. I may have lost you on that awkward second paragraph. It may not be a very clever subject line. There may be grammatical errors that keep my prose from flowing smoothly. But that’s fine with me. This was a tough week and I’m out of time. I’ll do better on the next one.

Woody Allen said, “80% of success is just showing up.” So, I’m just going to hit “publish” and go for a walk. This essay may not be that good. But at least I showed up.

To find other things I’ve written and much more, check out MarcRandolph.com

--

--

Marc Randolph

Netflix Co-founder. Entrepreneur, Investor and Advisor