Becoming an Optimizer

There’s always room to improve. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding your stride as an individual or as a team, and sometimes it’s a matter of allowing the idea/process/system to evolve. Cases in point:

  • Posterous began as an online photo sharing service. By leaving room for their core idea to change over time, the company, which was acquired by Twitter in March, eventually evolved into a micro-blogging and life streaming platform with a committed user base.
  • The first time I heard the Arcade Fire live, in June 2004, I wasn’t wowed. But by the time I heard them again in November 2004, their team (and therefore their music) had coalesced in a new way. It was amazing. (Or, maybe they had an off night in June!)

Neither Posterous nor the Arcade Fire struck gold on their first try. So why do I continue to think that I’ll strike gold on my first try? And why do you continue to think that you will? Isn’t it more important to be open to the changes that come along and actually put in the hard work necessary to grow a B+ idea/system/product into an A one?

Whether you’re interested in optimizing your personal life, your professional life, a product, idea or system, it’s most important to get out there and get started. Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Do something.
  2. Evaluate what you’ve done.
  3. If you liked it and/or it was a good idea, then build on it and keep going.
  4. If you didn’t like it and/or it was a bad idea, then try something else.
  5. Repeat.