Not every hit has to be a home run

I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I thought this analogy for achieving success in whatever endeavor you pursue was pretty spot on. When working on a project, writing a blog post, outsourcing code, posting videos online, etc., it can be tempting to refrain from publishing something that we don’t feel 100% confident in. How can we make something public that’s not as good as the stuff we read online. What we tend to forget is that the projects we hear about, the articles we read and the videos we listen to are often the content we consume because they are the top of the crop, the tip of the iceberg. That’s a perfect exemple of the survivorship bias in effect, we see the best and assume that’s all that exists.

It’s easy to remember only the home runs, but these are rare and few in-between plenty of hits and misses. The home run is spectacular, but it’s the team that can get on the bases the most regularly that will most likely win. Every hit counts and even the best hitters strike out most of the time.

Furthermore, when we think home run, most of us think of the hit that goes over the outfield fence, but there are many kinds of home runs:

The “out of the park” home run. Very few will ever reach this level of success. Most of the time it’s only a matter of combining the perfect conditions and a little luck.

The “inside the park” home run. This one requires tremendous speed from the hitter and most likely some luck in hitting the ball at the perfect place or capitalizing on the errors of the opposite team. If you’re going very fast, you will make the competition fumble.

As you can see, there many ways to succeed and even if you never hit a home run, you can still be very successful by having a lot of small hits. And the more you try, the more hits you’ll get and the better you’ll become at getting a hit.

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A web developer's musings on software, product management, and other vaguely related topics.