Time to Next Iteration

Over the past two months, I've been working with my friend Warren on untangling the past 6 years of Orbital into a smaller set of paths worth exploring.

It's been a fun process to learn how to collaborate remotely during a pandemic, all while you're trying to make sense of a lot of different ideas.

We've been mostly working independently, using tools like Basecamp and Notion to work asynchronously, with a standing Wednesday meeting that serves as both a catch up, but more importantly as a deadline.

Effectively, this means we've been on a weekly cycle where we each need to go and explore a thread, and then produce an artifact around which we can use to have a discussion the following week.

It's been a great to have a regular cadence, because that's meant that there have been times when I've been able to put forth a more fully-formed concept, and other times when I've come back with very little.  In the case of the latter, those have turned into opportunities to explore why a given strategy or approach has been problematic, which in turn has led to either killing the idea altogether or having new context by which to take another pass.

All of this has been a good reminder that when you're in exploration mode, it's incredibly important to have a regular cadence and to make the cycles as short as possible.  The reason for that is this effectively puts a cap on the time between iterations.  And, it's way more important to produce more imperfect iterations faster than to wait an indeterminate amount of time in order to get things right on the first try.

The latter never really happens—it's a pipe dream.  And the former never really feels great because incomplete work has rarely been rewarded.

But, when you're going through a creative process, that is what you need to lean into.  And, a good forcing function is to make sure you've introduced a system of quick loops that end with showing another person the output of your attempt.  Because the value to be had is not in the artifact itself, but in the discussion that artifact enables.