When it comes to creative output, there are three key components. There's volume, which means doing the work prolifically. There's velocity, which means doing the work rapidly. And there's value, which means doing the work exquisitely. Each of these strategies in isolation are useful. And when they work in tandem, they’re powerful. But in the economics of the creative process, you can only pick two.
INNOVATION ECONOMICS -- Optimizing your creative process for quantity and speed before quality
Here are your options. First is volume and value. The upside of this combo is, you create a high quantity of great work. But that takes a long time, which means velocity suffers. Second is velocity and value. The upside of this one is, you create high quality work quickly. But that exhausts you and requires recovery, which means volume suffers. Third is velocity and volume. The upside of this way is, you create a high quantity of work quickly. But that takes priority over refining, which means quality suffers. Which combination would you choose?
In my twenty years as a professional creator, both as a freelancer and an employee, I’ve tried all three approaches. And far and away, the third one is the winner. Turns out, we live in a world that rewards speed, quantity and consistency, despite the number of books written about the virtue of excellence. Quality is nice if you can get it, but it’s not as important as people think it is. Congrats if you’re someone with insanely high standards, but being amazing is really going to slow you down. Someone who has written one amazing article in five years is not as interesting, experienced, nimble, generous, digitally discoverable as someone who’s written five hundred good articles in one year. That’s the profound power of velocity plus volume. Their combination and the continuity thereof make up for whatever you lack in quality along the way.
If you’ve generated a heap of work in a short period of time, any individual piece you ship isn’t as valuable as the fact that you own the entire long tail. Think of it as a creative pile driver. Volume and velocity become the device used to provide foundational support for the rest of your career.Who needs excellence when you have volume?
Reduce your dependency on perfection
Execute a high quantity of work very quickly
Build a bias for speed, output and consistency
Become more credible and discoverable by owning the entire intellectual long tail