I've long been a fan of the Seth Godin idea of shipping it, even if it's not perfect. The "it" can be a product, new idea, book, show, etc. The marketing guru and prolific blogger said in 2010:
Shipping is fraught with risk and danger.
Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.
It's no wonder we're afraid to ship.
It's not clear you have much choice, though. A life spent curled in a ball, hiding in the corner might seem less risky, but in fact it's certain to lead to ennui and eventually failure.
Since you're going to ship anyway, then, the question is: why bother indulging your fear?
It's such a spot-on idea to me: Take that fear of failure and channel into shipping the goddamn thing already, and tweak it once you get feedback from mentors, those you trust, strangers.
Godin's ship-it mantra has been on my mind with my solo show project Jewnique. Part of me wanted more time to fine-tune its edges, polish the poetry, but May 10 was the date I declared as its world premiere and I wasn't afraid to ship something a bit raw. A bit messy.
I had the lines down cold, felt the spoken word in my body, and worked with stage managers on using the props and stage effectively. I was ready.
Despite all that, a voice in the back of my head nagged me with, "If you had another month, you could really sharpen the show."
But I steeled myself to mantra over and over: Ship it, Dave. Get it out into the world and then let's see what people think.
Thankfully, the crowd who came out on May 10 has given me overwhelmingly positive feedback. Also, with a big phew, I didn't flub anything, and the final reveal was staged perfectly. So Jewnique...shipped!
As Godin's theory goes, shipping it is the first step in making something great. Now comes the difficult stage of marketing, editing, networking, seeing where else this can be shipped.
I want to bring this show to more audiences, to more cities, and since I built it, some people came, and now I can work to see where I can smooth out some wrinkles.
I prefer that process, than its more cowardly cousin: build it, keep editing, hiding it from view, stay curled in a ball.
About David's Blog
I write about journalism, freelancing, the arts, Toronto, technology, sports and why egg nog is under-rated.