The first 250 copies of my new book were shipped to bookstores with some of the pages upside down.
How does this happen? It’s a 500-year-old technology… What does it mean to do work in a shop where your clients are pitched on perfect and you are expected to provide it?
Some thoughts to consider:
- If you traffic in perfect, it pays to turn your perfect into a system, not simply wing it. In the last fifty years, thanks to Deming and Crosby and others, we’ve gotten significantly better at creating perfect outputs that don’t rely on heroism and luck. Design a better system, you’ll get better outputs.
- If those you compete against also promise perfect, perfect is no longer sufficient. That’s one reason why it’s so difficult to be a book printer. Since perfect = all the same, then why not buy the cheapest version of perfect?
- I’m grateful every day for the nearly invisible perfect things that I count on. My car starts every single time. The water in my tap doesn’t make me sick, ever. The thing in the jar is the same thing that was in the jar the last time I bought it… but, and I feel spoiled to say this, I take the perfect for granted. I’m way more interested, and spend far more time and money on the imperfect things, the things that might not work, the ideas and services and products that dance around the edges. If you’re going to offer something that’s imperfect, by all means, make it as good as you possibly can, but embrace the fact that you’re not selling perfect. You’re selling interesting. You’re selling possibility. You’re selling connection.
PS if you got one of the 250 books, my publisher is delighted to replace it and include a bonus. Or you could sell it on eBay, who knows, maybe it’s a collectible.