Thursday, October 2, 2008

Perfectly good enough

Voltaire said that "the perfect is the enemy of the good", which is to say that toiling for perfection often leaves us with nothing at all, whereas we could have just settled for good enough and moved on quite happily.  I often tell my students that their project report is not ever done, it just gets turned in by the deadline.  If we had more time, we could keep picking away at it for ever.  A week after turning in my Ph.D. dissertation, I had already found dozens of mistakes in it...  If I ever publish it as a book, I am sure I'll find some mistakes in the printed tome as well.  
Life is like that in many ways.  We try hard to put meaning into it and challenge ourselves with project after project and, at the end, we just die and leave lots of loose ends.  Fait unaccompli.  As long as we did our best, though, we could claim that our existence has been more than a mere dash between the dates of our birth and our passing.
And so it is that this weekend, instead of waiting for our content management system, ning social network, online photo gallery, dspace project repository, venipedia wiki, and everything else to be "perfect", we will just release everything to our alumni with an email announcing the start of the 20th anniversary celebrations.  It's about time!  We've been making slow but steady progress all summer, but now it's time to get the message out and begin to tap into the creative powers of our 500+ alumni who can contribute to refining the various facets of our web 2.0 offerings and maybe move them toward perfection.  The email will go out on Monday, so Kyle, Hamlet, Ilan and I met today to plan the final touches to create a somewhat uniform look and feel so we can be ready for our VPC alumni's scrutiny.   Good enough!  Off we go!