#144: Stop Waiting for Perfect
#144: Stop Waiting for Perfect
Add this to your list of things to stop doing in 2019 – waiting. On this episode of Seeking Wisdom, DC and DG are at it again, this time talking about why it’s time to stop waiting for perfect. This episode is for anyone who’s ever waited for everyone to agree, only to reach a consensus that is so watered down, you forgot what you were trying to solve in the first place. Or for anyone who’s ever waited to have all their ducks in a row before taking a big leap, and then missed out on the opportunity altogether. Waiting gets in the way of progress and innovation. DC and DG share their tips for how to stay out of the waiting trap and keep the momentum going.
Before you go leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and share the pod with your friends! Be sure to check out more insights on the Drift blog at drift.com/blog and find us on Twitter @davegerhardt @dcancel @seekingwisdomio.
More details on this episode: https://drift.com/blog/waiting-for-perfect/
Speaker 1: All right. Here we go.
Speaker 2: Ladies and gentlemen.
Speaker 1: We're back. Who's with us?
Speaker 2: MC
Speaker 1: The lady in black.
Speaker 2: Maggie.
Maggie C.: Hello.
Speaker 2: All right, so here's the deal. Maggie's show has been killing.
David Cancel: Uh- huh(affirmative) Maggie who?
Speaker 2: But now that we have so many podcasts... Not so many, we have some great podcasts in addition to Seeking Wisdom.
David Cancel: Why did you lump in Maggie into so many?
Speaker 2: I get that. I said so many, but I didn't mean so many. I meant there's one great podcast. There's a lot of things out there that might be great, we don't know. You're the only proven one, but we haven't done a good job, this is on me, we haven't done a good job of integrating all these things. And so, we want to have you as a regular part of this show for a couple minutes. And basically let people know what's happening on your show. One podcast that I love is Bill Simmons, Sports Guy. Does a great job of-
David Cancel: Did he pay for that?
Speaker 2: No, he didn't pay for that.
David Cancel: Okay.
Speaker 2: But he has a... Shout out to you, Bill, with respect. They have a bunch of different shows and he has people from those other shows come on and say" Hey," and let you know... Because I think there's a limiting belief, which is like," Oh, man, I'm not a product manager. I can't listen to Maggie's show." I actually think it's so much more than that. So, what's been going on, on your show, Maggie?
Maggie C.: Yeah, we've been talking to a bunch of amazing product leaders about how they built their businesses, how they built their teams, how they know what they're doing is the right thing to do, which I think are topics that cut across everyone's jobs. So I'm really excited for some of the guests that are coming up, I can't share all of them.
Speaker 2: Can't you share any of them? crosstalk No.
Maggie C.: All secrets.
Speaker 2: No secrets. Oh, you must have the secret pipeline.
Maggie C.: Yeah.
Speaker 2: That's pretty good.
Maggie C.: Yeah.
Speaker 2: What's a-
David Cancel: If I were you, Maggie. Sorry to interrupt. It's what I do. My specialty-
Speaker 2: No, please. Please. Crosstalk.
Maggie C.: Feedback at any moment, including on a podcast.
David Cancel: If I were you, I would go out today and get a T- shirt and on it, it says The Proven One.
Maggie C.: The Proven One. Whoa. crosstalk I'm going to need that.
Speaker 2: The Proven One. Black T. crosstalk
David Cancel: Yeah. Black T, black on black. crosstalk The Proven One. What's up.
Maggie C.: I'll take it.
Speaker 2: I dig that. What do you want your show to be about? If you have somebody that listens to your show, is it going to be product people that listen to it?
Maggie C.: I think there's probably, hopefully lots of product people that listen to it because that's the thing that I nerd out about that I'm really interested in, so I'm hoping it's helpful to them. But I think anyone who works with or next to product people should find it to be helpful because it's about how to work better with them. How to know what we do, how we do what we do. And I get a lot of people who are like," I'm in the middle of this project. I don't know what to do next. Can you bring someone on the show that's struggling and walk them through some things." And hope to do more like that too.
David Cancel: I agree because it's a product people... Designers, engineers, and people that we hear from every day who want to be one of those three things.
Maggie C.: Right.
Speaker 2: I tweeted out your episode with Richard Banfield, shout out to you, Richard. And I was like... I'm not even a product person. I like this episode because I think there is a lot to learn from the product world. And especially if you're in marketing, especially if you're in sales.
Maggie C.: Or if you're an entrepreneur-
David Cancel: Needs some emotional safety.
Speaker 2: I need emotional safety. I mean, look, I was a product manager... As we've discussed, that was a product manager-
David Cancel: I provide emotional safety too.
Speaker 2: I was a product manager at this company myself. So feel free to... You know, whatever lessons you want...
Maggie C.: That's true. That's true. You're the mold that we are all trying to look up to.
Speaker 2: Sprints, whatever you guys need. I got your back. But seriously, Maggie's show is awesome. You should definitely go and check it out. If you're interested in a product, if you work in startups, technology, or you're just hungry and you want to learn, because that's ultimately what we want to do with the whole Seeking Wisdom podcast network, is... Be the new way that you learn in 2019, which I'm super excited about.
David Cancel: Super exciting.
Maggie C.: Yeah.
David Cancel: She already has her five star, sometimes six star reviews.
Maggie C.: And a couple of six stars.
David Cancel: It's a couple of six stars.
Maggie C.: Yep. My mom was definitely in there a hundred percent.
David Cancel: Unlike myself. I'm only good with six stars. Maggie's okay with the five stars.
Maggie C.: I'll take the five stars. I'll take them.
Speaker 2: One of the best... So we did this episode on copywriting, which... Go back and check it out. Maggie was nice enough to have me on her show. One of the hottest, best pieces of advice that I got about copywriting came via Maggie, via Maggie's dad-
David Cancel: Get out of here.
Speaker 2: Who said that he used to tell her his copywriting secret," Say what you mean."
David Cancel: Get out of here.
Maggie C.: He would take my papers and he would put them down. He wouldn't read them. And then he would say," What were you trying to say?" And then he'd say," Say that."
Speaker 2: That's weird. That's it. That's everything that we talk about in the crosstalk. Say what you mean.
David Cancel: What's up, Maggie's dad?
Speaker 2: crosstalk All right, Maggie, thank you. Now back to your regularly scheduled Seeking Wisdom.
David Cancel: And we're back.
Speaker 2: We're back.
David Cancel: Seeking Wisdom is back. I'm excited. I'm fueled up on coffee. Let's get this.
Speaker 2: You are, you are. This is how you know DC is from Queens, New York. When it gets cold out, he will not go outside.
David Cancel: I definitely will not go outside.
Speaker 2: You will not go outside, which doesn't make any sense because Queens is East Coast, it is cold, but there's just like a-
David Cancel: It's colder in Boston.
Speaker 2: Something happens there, he will not go outside. Usually doesn't drink the inside coffee, but if DC is drinking inside coffee, you know that it's cold out.
David Cancel: It's called," I'm drinking inside coffee. I'm not going out there. It's brutal."
Speaker 2: All right. I love this because DC used to have to send me messages in order to get content for Seeking Wisdom. But now you have this Sunday night email that you send to the company.
David Cancel: Yes.
Speaker 2: And it's just become this goldmine for Seeking Wisdom, so thank you. You're making my job easy. You sent one last Sunday night, and this is about waiting for perfect.
David Cancel: Mm- hmm(affirmative)
Speaker 2: And I think there's so many sub themes in this. So I want to call today's episode, Stop Waiting for Perfect.
David Cancel: I love that title-
Speaker 2: So-
David Cancel: That's a clickable title-
Speaker 2: I'm going to do what I do best, which is replay things you already said to me and get you to remember them.
David Cancel: Yeah. So the email that I sent to the company is called the T S N S.
Speaker 2: Yes, T S N S.
David Cancel: The Sunday Night Series, I remember it.
Speaker 2: I thought it was the Sunday Night Send. I like the Sunday Night Series. Okay. Send is kind of hot but-
David Cancel: The series, it's like a serious series.
Speaker 2: It is very serious.
David Cancel: And I began sending this, I don't know, month or two months ago, I just send them out. I try to write what's on my mind. Sometimes people reply. Sometimes they don't. I'm like, does anyone read this? But then I hear good feedback from people. I guess they read it. And so it's providing fodder now for Seeking Wisdom.
Speaker 2: See, I've been replying. And I want you to know that I'm not replying to pump you up. I'm like, this is good feedback. I like this. Okay. So this week's email, you said you took two screenshots of things that you said in Slack, which were basically like... Simplify, advice to somebody in creative and somebody in product about things that looked complicated. And you just said," Basically simplify." You took screenshots of them, put them in your email and then you said," The point is emails is waiting for perfect. Waiting for perfect is something that we must avoid. Waiting for perfect can look like this, waiting until you have consensus, waiting for perfect information, waiting until we've had a chance to rewrite all the things," right? Like, rewrite every word on the homepage. Or you said," Engineers love to fall into [death's 00:06:44] trap."
David Cancel: I love this one.
Speaker 2: "Waiting until we have the perfect strategy tool, framework, or process, waiting until we have the perfect setup, rig, studio, equipment. Waiting for perfect is a trap. We all fall into it. We all seek it, but it never comes. It's an illusion. It's an illusion that paralyzes you."
David Cancel: Woo- hoo. That's sounds pretty good, huh?
Speaker 2: That sounds pretty good.
David Cancel: Old man still has something there.
Speaker 2: You still got the fastballs.
David Cancel: Mm- hmm(affirmative).
Speaker 2: So what is that waiting for perfect? You've seen this lesson over and over and over and over again.
David Cancel: I've suffered through it. I fall into this trap all the time, myself. I shared that because I had observed some things happening within the team, within the company, where we're starting to scale, we're starting to get bigger, we have lots of people on the team. And one thing that naturally happens around this size and continues to happen even more so as you get bigger, is this kind of search for perfect all the time. And so that's when consensus comes in, this is when the concept of Bezos talks about the one way versus two- way doors, which I love that concept. I use it all the time. He basically has this framework where he says," Most decisions that you will make, are two- way doors." And what he means by that is that they're not irreversible, meaning that it's a door with two ways. So you can make this decision, and if you figure out that the decision is wrong, you can turn around and you come back right in from that door. So on two- way decisions, you don't need to wait for consensus. You don't need to wait for perfect information. You don't need to wait for any perfection. Just make the decision and learn from that decision versus one- way doors. One- way doors are serious decisions. You should spend a lot of time analyzing because once you make them, they're not reversible.
Speaker 2: Can you talk about... We haven't talked this much about it on the podcast, but something that you are allergic to and you try to kill here at Drift, is consensus.
David Cancel: Mm- hmm(affirmative).
Speaker 2: What is so bad about consensus and why are you so... Even if somebody is like," Let's vote in Slack with emojis about blank. No." What is it about consensus?
David Cancel: I spend a lot of time trying to stomp out consensus, right? Big time. I'm surprised we've never done an episode on this because it's so foundational. To me, consensus needs to be avoided at all costs because consensus is regression to the mean, meaning you basically create something... If you have consensus, when you are creating something, you are averaging out to the least offensive thing possible. And so therefore, unlike what Seth Godin says, which is like," You need to pick an edge and you need to go all the way to the edge and get a positive or negative reaction out of that." You regress the least offensive version of something, meaning that it is by definition, not going to be able to be great. And what we're trying to go after is to create greatness, to create those great 10x, 100x opportunities. And if you keep moving towards consensus, will never happen. But consensus is the trap that we all fall into because we are social animals and we want everyone to get along and we don't want people to be upset. And so we will always err towards the side of consensus and get people to vote and no one wants to stick their neck out. And so everyone agreed. And that leads to crappy decision making.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Consensus is just like a way of like getting a... You don't want to own the decision.
David Cancel: No.
Speaker 2: Well, we all voted on it and then it failed. So, ultimately we're all responsible.
David Cancel: Yeah, but no one was responsible.
Speaker 2: I can't tell you which book this is from, but there's a great quote that I sent to you recently about this, kind of related to this. And this guy says," The risk of insult is the price of clarity."
David Cancel: Mm- hmm.
Speaker 2: Right? And that to me has a lot to do with consensus, right? Because if you are... The reason people go to consensus is because then you don't piss anybody off.
David Cancel: Totally.
Speaker 2: But then you kind of have this, I don't know why we're doing this. Why did we make the decision where you say," Hey, we did it this way. Here's why." Also, it speaks to having a culture that's open to feedback, right?
David Cancel: Totally. And having a culture that has backbone. Have backbone, make a decision. Yeah. Disagree and commit, make that decision and then be responsible for it and learn from it when it succeeds and when it fails.
Speaker 2: So that's consensus. But back to this waiting for perfect, the myth of waiting for perfect. A couple other things that came up-
David Cancel: Trap.
Speaker 2: It always happens. When you sent me this screenshot, you're back to rereading the homie, the legend, Steven Pressfield.
David Cancel: What's up, Steven.
Speaker 2: Okay. A big fan of the show.
David Cancel: Can you adopt me?
Speaker 2: You said that'd be amazing. Actually, no, that'd be too much.
David Cancel: Why?
Speaker 2: The two of you together would be too much.
David Cancel: Oh my goodness. Imagine the books we'd write together.
Speaker 2: It would be too much. So, passages from... I think this was the War of Art." Play hurt. The amateur believes that she must have all her ducks in a row before she can launch her startup, or compose her symphony, or design her iPhone app. The professional knows better."
David Cancel: That's actually from Turning Pro.
Speaker 2: This is from Turning Pro? I thought it was from crosstalk Very similar. And I love that. I love... I mean, every time I read Steven Pressfield, he's just like energy pills. It just fires me up. So if you haven't read the War of Art, I would start there or Turning Pro. You need to read both of those books right there, because he tells you the truth, right? He talks about the amateur versus the professional. And all of us are... No one's professional. We're all striving to be professional at different things. And there's a big difference between the two.
David Cancel: We just got to get..." Athletes play hurt. Warriors fight scared. The professional takes two aspirin and keeps on truckin'." That's pretty good. I think it's just a momentum, right? The thing... One of the lessons I've learned from you is momentum is everything, right? Momentum is everything. And so if you have that big idea, great, what's the thing you can do today?
Speaker 2: Yeah.
David Cancel: Right? Early days of Drift, we knew we were going to do marketing, but the slice we picked off was product marketing. And that was a tiny piece. Why? Because, how do you focus on this big pie with six people on a team? So it's always a momentum thing. Yeah, we are naturally... All of us are lazy, especially myself. And so momentum is important because you need to have that forward progress and feeling like you're making progress towards some bigger goal to keep you in the fight, to keep you going each day, to keep you going through, because most days it's going to be tough and hard and you're not going to want to do it. But if you have momentum, that's a little pick- me- up that keeps you going each day.
Speaker 2: I just finished reading Atomic Habits by your guy, James Clear. And the whole thing is, get 1% better every day.
David Cancel: That's it.
Speaker 2: Because that compounds. Remember in the old office, used to have that math equation? And it would show you what 1% improvement times 365 days looks like?
David Cancel: Oh yeah.
Speaker 2: That was crazy. It's a crazy visual. 1% better every day.
David Cancel: Oh, I need to bring back that visual. That book is great. Atomic Habits, James Clear. We often share his thoughts. He's a good stop, homie. He should be on the podcast.
Speaker 2: Should.
David Cancel: Let's get the homie on. But another thing that I talked about in that internal post and why I thought this was so important was the idea of the scientific method, right? I saw you had that over here for a second.
Speaker 2: I did, here, here, here.
David Cancel: And that is why all of this is important, because you want to build around... Look up the scientific method and you'll see a circle, a chart that goes into a circle, right? That is a circle, I should say, that starts with a question and then it goes into research. Then it goes into hypothesis, test, you analyze data, you conclude something, you look at results, you form a new question, right? This is a more drawn out version. But basically the whole scientific method is how you want to approach the things that you do within your company. Right? You want to have a hypothesis. You want to test that out in the real world. You want to gather results from that. Learn, this is the learning loop. And then go back, have another hypothesis and keep iterating. So you want that iterative process. And that rapid iteration is the key to rapid learning. And this is why momentum is important. This is why you can't wait for perfect because every scientific design, experiment design, will be flawed somehow, no matter how perfect you want it to be. And so you need to get out there when the costs are low, when this is a two- way door we're talking about, not a one- way door, the cost is low. So get out there and start testing that.
Speaker 2: All right, so this is a CTA thing for today. You're heading into 2019. Everybody's got big goals. Just get started, right? If your goal is to do a hundred pushups, start and do one today and do two tomorrow, right? If you're going to run a marathon, do a mile today. I think it is this 1% better, get started somewhere and stop waiting for perfect. That's the place we want to leave people with today.
David Cancel: Two- way doors versus one- way doors. Hit us up on iTunes.
Speaker 2: And the reviews are back. So my review is broken. Someone said we should be charging for this type of content.
Speaker 1: Amen.
Speaker 2: Yep.
Speaker 1: So hit us up on Stitcher, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, wherever you listen to this.
Speaker 2: Spotify, crosstalk
Speaker 1: Because my boy, G2, trying to get you get YouTube subs. How are we doing on YouTube subs, G2?
Speaker 2: Right here. I have a bunch of stuff during this episode.
Speaker 1: It seems like... In the middle.
Speaker 2: All right. See ya. We're out of here.