Rev Dash (The Need to Ship Imperfection)

When I was an engineering intern, I revised drawings for engineers. They would look over the details, marking errors with a red pen — redlines — and have me implement the changes and give the drawing a new revision.

Likewise, in the technical world, the initial version of a product (or component of a product) already shipped is “Rev -” (pronounced “dash”). Often times you will quickly see the revision Rev A get released, followed by Rev B, and so on. Basically, each round fixes significant problems or adds needed features.

Rev Dash is often a decent first attempt, but your product will need significant improvement and better features to withstand the test of time, demand, and abuse.

So here’s the concept — if you look at any product long enough, you will definitely find improvements to be made or errors to be fixed. And you will need a revision.

The higher the revision, Rev M for example, the more errors you have found and the more you have refined your product.

But you will never really know what to fix until you first ship. You will never know what to tweak until you see the first article. Your product only seems ideal until you experience it fully — after it already exists, that is.

This is a good way to think about our first results from any endeavor.

As an example, examine the first generation of the iPod. It was mind-blowing and revolutionary, to be sure, but also very blunt and unrefined. It needed several major revisions before it was great. Let’s compare it to the fifth generation of the iPod, which is very well done. Heck, mine still works fine though it is nearly ten years old.

But there is no way to start with the fifth generation. You have to start from scratch, just like everyone else.

Remember, Rev Dash is so much better than not shipping a product because it is imperfect.

Actually, since we’re in a technical analogy, Rev Dash is infinitely better than null. (Yay for engineering jokes!)

You can’t fix something until it first exists. A ship cannot turn unless moving.

Act, go, and do — and allow yourself grace to revise your results as you go, using feedback from the current product to improve the next. But if you don’t act, go, or do, then there is no way to know what needs to be revised.

Don’t be afraid to create imperfection. If you are, you will produce nothing at all. Produce something and then revise.

So ship your Rev Dash already! The world awaits.

Are you holding out for perfection? Or will you ship so you can fix any problems in the next revision?