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May 18, 2009
Guy Kawasaki Says It’s Okay To Be Crappy
I recently attended a presentation by Guy Kawasaki. He gave a great talk that covered "The Art of Innovation."
If you know anything about Guy you'll know that he loathes long presentations. In fact, he's a big believer in people being able to make presentations using no more than 10 slides and going through them all within 20 minutes. If it's an hour meeting the other 40 minutes should be for Q&A.
In this case, Guy actually had 11-15 slides but we'll forgive him. I'd like to share one of the ideas from his fifth slide.
The title was "Don't Worry Be Crappy" - gotta love that, right? The room was filled with 50+ year old executives – definitely not the presentation they were used to.
Now, the concept of don't worry be crappy speaks to the idea that too many professionals and business people attempt to be perfectionists.
And while you've likely heard that before, this concept is so important you really should take notice of it once again.
During our upbringings and through the media many of us we're led to believe that the 'best' is always the most successful. The best print ad, website or online campaign will generate the highest results, right? Not necessarily.
It all depends on what you consider to be the best. Many people in the creative space believe it needs to be the best design - but this is subjective. Others in communications feel it needs to be the most thorough proposal – while those can be the most boring kinds.
You see, with true innovation if you're so focused on making everything perfect you'll never get your idea off the ground. And if you don't get it moving ... your chances of success are slim to none.
Guy gave a great example of how one of the first Macs didn't ship with all the necessary hardware. If they would have waited to have everything perfect the Mac computer likely wouldn't have gotten out of the gate and reached the level of success it has today.
In the case of marketing and advertising, the truth is no one knows which ad or promotion will perform the best. Anyway big-wig that tells you they can be certain is pulling your chain. Because the only way to know what will really work and what won't is to test.
Develop your promotion, be sure it has the best possible headline, opening, offer and call to action and then get it out. You then create your variation and test it against the first - ultimately the market will decide.
And while online advertising has made this process very simple the key here is that whatever you're doing make it the best you can but be aware that everything can usually be made better.
Rather than toil away trying to achieve perfection off the bat, get your ad, promotion, plan and idea out to the market and let their feedback guide you to true perfection.
The only catch with all of this is that whatever you put out on your first go should be unique enough and strong enough to at least make an impression on the market. A slight improvement over something that is already firmly entrenched in the market will often get swallowed up. That’s why your offering needs to stand out.
Create something that has all the elements of success, put your best foot forward and then launch it. You only need to look at software as a model - almost every year if not more often updates are released and the cycle of improvement continues.
The longer it takes you to launch the more chance you're giving someone else to make their mark before you do. So like Guy said, "don't worry be crappy" and get your stuff out there - you can improve on it along the way.

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Michael Zipursky is a direct-marketing and advertising consultant and copywriter. His clients range from consulting and resource firms to billion dollar technology manufacturers and include Panasonic, Financial Times, Dow Jones, and Nissha, Sumitomo, among others. He is the president of Relagy Marketing and co-founder of Business Consulting Buzz, an online resource for consultants and the consulting industry.

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