I just came across an interesting blog post by Joseph Stucker, a recent summer intern at Tipping Point Labs, reflecting on what he’d learned during his time there. Being somewhat familiar with Tipping Point Labs’ thought-provoking Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Davis, I was curious.
Stucker leads with an important point that many of us never learn: Namely, not to get stuck in analyzing data for its own sake. He distills his advice to two simple questions. 1) Always ask “So what?” – why does all that data matter? 2) Follow with “What now?” Data is useless unless it spurs more informed decisions.
That reminded me of something a mentor once told me when I was probably about Stucker’s age – namely, that most of the time, it’s more important to make a decision than it is to make the best decision. After a simple evaluation of the pros and cons, there’s usually not significant additional value in charting the perfect course. Modifications can almost always be made en route. But unless you start moving in the general direction you intend to go, you’ll never, ever get there.
It sounds simple and obvious, but it can be hard to surprisingly hard to adhere to. The tendency to want to do it perfectly first time, every time, can sometimes be an unwitting deterrent to progress.