Quality and Quantity

“Quantity yields quality.”

Jack Conte, co-founder of Patreon.

Hmm. That got me thinking. It came from a conversation Conte was having with filmmaker Van Niestat – the eternal battle between our desire to do something, while also wrestling with our procrastination and imposter syndrome.

It’s definitely a reality for me – just before I click ‘send’ or ‘publish’, I have a moment of “but this is CRAP!” Every. Single. Time.

And yet – if we don’t hit the ‘Go!’ button … well, nothing will happen.

Picasso averaged 2-3 pieces of art every day over his 75 year career. He knew they weren’t all masterpieces, but his process was working through ideas at speed. For Picasso, quantity was a good thing.

At the other end of the scale, Leonardo da Vinci only finished eight major works of art across his 50 year career. For Leonardo, quantity was irrelevant; quality was everything.

Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books. Harper Lee wrote one [maybe two].

Somewhere in all this there is a balance to be found. Focus too much on quantity and we risk spamming people – becoming a nuisance. Obsess with quality, and our quest for perfection [which doesn’t exist] becomes an excuse for procrastination … with the consequence being paralysis – we do nothing at all.

The conclusion that Jack and Van came to – “quantity yields quality” – seems helpful to me, especially if we combine that with an honest desire and commitment to improving over time. We can’t predict in advance what will hit, and what will miss, and so instead, we can be patiently consistent …

Do. Do again. [And do again].

And see where that takes us …


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