Monday, May 7, 2012

Getting to great

The difference between good and great isn't a big idea. It isn't breakthrough technology. It isn't a billion dollar launch campaign. Nor is it the celebrity you've hired to endorse your product.

The difference between good and great lies in the details.

It's in the curve of a surface.

It's in the simplicity of the interface between your device and the server.

It's in the elegance of your code.

It's in the feel and placement of a switch.

It's in the ability of salesperson to remember a new customer's name.

It's in the casting of your commercial.

It's in the editing of your newsletter.

It's in the the quality of your images.

It's in the kerning of your type.

Great ideas are a dime a dozen.

Excellence in execution is the most important determinant of success. It's what separated iPod from Zune, Ford from Chrysler, Avatar from Land of the Lost.

In a time when consumers have more choices than ever, good enough just isn't good enough. You have to sweat every detail on your great idea. People are not interested in shelling out their hard-earned pay for mediocrity.

If you're not willing to go all the way to great, you might as well not even start.


  1. Harvey - As a young creative, I once tried making the case for execution to a boss who lived and breathed the mantra "idea is king." As I talked myself - and he backed me - into a corner, it felt as though I was about to be executed. But I still believe that the idea is only part of it. Belief in an idea is another. But the details and the execution of them are the perspiration that get you to great.

    1. Gene, The idea is important. In fact it's critical. But I've seen a ton of great ideas ruined by poor execution.

      Everyone has great ideas. Few have the talent or determination to execute their ideas to the highest level. It's something I've struggled with. There's always a moment when you can say "good enough" even though you know it really isn't. The great ads, products, businesses, songs, etc. all have avoided that trap.