In November 1995, a movie changed cinema forever. Pixar released “Toy Story,” the world’s first computer-animated feature film.
The film became a hit franchise and has been followed by other universal hits like Finding Nemo, Inside Out, Up, Coco, Ratatouille, Monster’s Inc., and The Incredibles.
But according to Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, there’s a dirty secret hidden behind all these great hits. At the beginning, they suck.
Ed chooses that phrasing “because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are.” The team's job, he says, is to make them go "from suck to not-suck ".
I’ve heard many successful authors relay a similar experience.
Srini Rao says that the first day his book didn’t suck was the day it went to print.
Every day before that was devoted to editing. And once the book is published, you’ll soon discover all the typos you failed to correct.
So really, it sucks right up until the point that someone loves what you’ve made enough to look past any issues.
It’s easy to assume that great things come from genius and perfection. Because once we admit that they come from a series of refined errors, we start to wonder what stands between us and producing something great.
The answer is being willing to make mistakes, being brave enough to make things that suck, and being relentless enough to keep working on them until they don’t.
Don’t worry about making the next great thing. Carve out the first draft. Cobble together an MVP. Bring something into the world and keep refining it until people love it enough to ignore the typos.
“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but when there is no more to take away” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of Le Petit Prince