PW 3: Errors and productivity


If productivity is useful work created by time or money, it’s worth thinking about what we mean by ‘useful’.

There are areas where reliability is crucial. It turns out that building an airplane that works 95% of the time is incredibly easy compared to building one that never crashes. I think we’re all pleased that the standard for airplanes is ‘never’.

On the other hand, a book that’s missing a few Oxford commas can still change lives or even win a Pulitzer.

Given enough time and enough money, we can make just about anything as reliable as an airplane. But should we?

How much extra is a perfectly round pickleball ball worth?

The wrong question is: “Is it perfect?”

The right question might be: “Does it meet the spec?”

If you’re not happy with the spec, change it. But once there’s a spec, good enough is good enough.


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