I happened to read something called “Do it wrong the first time” this morning. Believe it or not, it’s “do it WRONG”, rather than “do it RIGHT”. Sounds weird, huh? Indeed, that’s what makes this short passage about business writing so interesting to me.

The short passage from the book The McGRAW-HILL 36-Hour Course Business Writing and Communication is about how to write more effective. It’s about “Prototype comes first, final product the second”. When speaking of writing, most of us try to skip the prototype stage and go right to the final product. We edit carefully as we write, pausing every few words to check spelling or punctuation or grammar.

I have to say that it is totally ineffective, though someone may argue that this is because they are chasing for perfection from start to finish. Actually, there is no need to argue here since I support the pursuit of perfection too. Chances are that in doing so, you may have to delete some crafted sentences when you realize that there might be a better way to present it. Thus the time for honing the words, tuning the tones, and the like, are wasted. The more effective, and practical way is to come up with the prototype, the draft first, and then the final product could be further developed. It’s not about deliberately do it “WRONG”, it is about we don’t usually do it right the first time—Do It Wrong the First Time.

Fail faster, succeed sooner”. That makes sense, right? Learn not to be careful.

The inspiration it brought to me is that we don’t need a perfect product, (indeed, we cannot, either), when we decide to start our own business. Sometimes we are just too careful to do something, and that’s why we cannot make it happen. The market itself will feedback us the strength and weakness of the product, and that’s how we move forward.

So…Wrong, fail, not careful, are all fine.

Jeff Wang
Mar 4, 2009