I carry plenty of books in my Kindle. When I was given a copy of Velocity I made a mental note of adding it to Kindle too. But after a glance inside I changed my mind. Not that the book is not good (in fact, if you haven’t read it yet you should get a copy right now). On the contrary, its key messages are clear and concise and The Seven New Laws for a World Gone Digital summarise them beautifully. As a result, rather than carrying a whole electronic copy in my Kindle, I opened it on the 2 pages where the laws are listed and took a photo.
It’s a photo that I have used often since that day back then. I like to quote the cleverly worded laws, particularly in meetings within my team and AKQA, founded by one of the authors, as shorthand for when I think we are going “soft” on a hard challenge or may need to consider a bolder approach.
I think I must have quoted all seven at some point, but I have my favourite: Convenient is the enemy of right. It may seem counter-intuitive that the man pushing Agile hard, demanding higher speed and streamlined processes is also the one often calling the difference between convenient and rightwhenever quick wins are mentioned.
To me, that’s what it comes down to: quick wins. The opium of modern enterprise, enticing and attractive yet disappointingly fleeting in their ethereal impact, always leaving you dissatisfied and in need of more: a fix that should surely feel better than the one just gone, but never does. Quick wins are convenient (easy, cheap, comfortable as they don’t challenge the status quo) and they are indeed the mortal enemy of what’s right: a comprehensive challenge to anything embedded, traditional, accepted and simple; the painful but unavoidable exercise of placing the customer at the centre and accepting that the world may have moved on and the organisation may need major surgery to adapt to the a challenges ahead.
Remember, convenient is the enemy of right.
Velocity needs you to be streamlined. The requisite craftsmanship takes perseverance and discipline. Obsess over important details, and edit ferociously.