Pick prolific: quantity, quality, and Chidi’s Dilemma

Prolific is better than perfect, Jared Dees:

“Perfect” is a mirage that no one knows how to reach.

I’m fond of restating this in terms of the quantity/quality trade-off. It’s easy for me to fall into the temptation of creating one essay/pull request/turn-of-phrase that exhibits all of the quality that should exemplify my work. But it’s better for me to create a bunch of things that exhibit some of that quality so I can better learn what is essential to the quality and what is illusory.

To borrow Dees’ model: if I write fifty-two blog posts in a year, several of them will be Not That Great. But after the first dozen or so, I’ll start to figure out what’s important in a story and what I thought was important but doesn’t really matter much. This is quantity creating quality; not a tradeoff!

The flip side is Chidi’s dilemma: spending your whole life trying to write every single thing about your area of expertise, with nuance, and producing something so impenetrable that not even a demigod can make sense of it.

In short: quantity doesn’t reduce quality. Quantity is the feedback loop that creates Quality.