Is ‘good enough’ the new black?

During the presentations of last night’s Mobile Monday in Brussels (#momobxl – tablet edition) it struck me how often businesses’ seem to work with a ‘good enough’ strategy. It came up during Corelio’s presentation on their mobile approach as well as during SBS’s presentation on the 2nd Screen (Tweede Scherm). The basic idea to create something fast and put it in users hands as soon as possible. Now I’m a big fan of an agile and iterative development approach, I don’t like ‘good enough’ though. Good enough means ‘almost good’ as in ‘mediocre’. How can that ever be a strategy?

‘Good enough’ is also not very inspirational, it’s not very ambitious. A point I wanted to convey during the Q&A session of the event but without success. The response was that (especially the Belgian market) is still very small when it comes to tablets and that we need to be careful with the investments we make. We also need to be careful with what we wish for, since the general public is trailing us geeks and therefore obviously not into digital like we are. Fair enough, but why is that an explanation of ‘good enough’?  The following analogy was made: “ we want to drive 300mph with a car and we’re only just figuring out what a car is, these things need time”. My take on that is that businesses (again especially in Belgium) are not dreaming of driving 300mph at all, they’re trying to drive a car the way they learned to ride a horse. In this case that means merely duplicating experiences on new platforms. And again, that’s still no reason for ‘good enough’.

It might be a Belgian thing, but I just don’t get it. I know, it’s a small country with limited reach and thus limited budget. But that’s no explanation on why things can’t be ambitious. What they can’t be great… instead of good enough. Dream big for god’s sake – “The bigger the statement, the bigger the idea, the bigger your brand will become” dixit Hugh MacLeod (‘the hughtrain’).



  1. Going for average or strive to perfection, I think the answer (as always) lies in the middle. When you are going after perfection, you might end up chasing an illusion and lose your attention on other projects you’re working on.

    But settling for less doesn’t mean going for average in my opinion. You have to work with clear goals of time and size of the project, that allows you to experiment, think and rethink your strategy and maximize the time given.

    1. Kris Hoet says:

      My point is not that things should be perfect or nothing. My point is that by going for ‘good enough’ you lack what is needed to make great things. I mentioned the fact that I’m all for agile and iterative project development but that I want us to think big and that we should raise the bar on what we put out there in the market. Even if that’s (just) a phase 1.

  2. Then I’m on your side. But I’m afraid that’s indeed a bit of the Belgian mentality, going for a solid result rather than an experimental.

    But the industry is booming, a lot of new agencies and freelancers joining every day. And as the competition gets harder and harder, it will be those who strive for excellent that will stay in the business.

  3. Good enough came up in the presentation of Telenet #Yelo. In short terms ‘the good enough’ principle is the best option to land asap on a realistic base from which you can keep developping / adjusting. In that way your audience or target group can interact with a product. I know many examples, far from perfect and still not yet delivered. I suggest not to dream BIG, put to act now (the Belgian way). Great things are the result of many years hard efforts.

    1. Kris Hoet says:

      I don’t agree. Take a look at Instagram for instance – pure and simple. And fresh, in evolution but already really good. Again, when I hear ‘good enough’ especially in Belgium I hear ‘mediocre’. I don’t hear ‘really cool but more to come’. Instagram is the latter.

      Also the Belgian way is not ‘act now’. The Belgian way is wait until someone else acts first and then maybe do something similar. But only if we’re sure it worked.

      1. I agree with Michael. Having something great today relies on user’s feedback on usage, and thus on agile and iterative process post launch.

        I agree that for many people “good enough” is just “out there quick so we can look for excuses for explaining failure”. We need to educate professionals to embrace agile and iterative project and product management. And top management to have a vision on what to do, which they lack!

        And with a couple of best cases, it will be easier. And indeed Telenet with Yelo (-like products) is probably a direction to look!

  4. Hi Kris, Seen Peter’s ‘Good enough IT” ;-)

    btw. Let me know when you’re in Singapore, we’ll have a follow up drink in Equinox in the Swiss hotel.

    1. Kris Hoet says:

      Hadn’t seen it yet. I don’t agree on the examples – what was good enough about Gmail or Skype? They were pretty decent services when they launched and they had a very solid idea from the start as well, something that made them unique, something that made them stand out. And yes, they developed further on that idea, but that’s not just ‘good enough’ is it?

      And yeah – I’d happily take you up on that invitation once I get back there :)

      1. If indeed Skype was “good enough IT”, heck I’ll change my mind today seeing how much it can generate. ;-) Especialy if you know that it was build on technology of Kazaa, you see piracy is good for something ;-). and indeed Gmail itself was far from “good enough” they were one of the first to use Ajax technology intensively.

  5. The “Good Enough” quote has been a bit overrated by some that Monday evening. It simply means that some technology may not be perfect (just by the simple fact that it isn’t)but that some factors for using it are highly appreciated. Considering all mobile technologies at hand, sending out an SMS is costly and has limited use, but still we all do so. The most popular example of “Good Enough” is the switch from VCR to DVD (because of the far better experience)but we don’t move to BluRay because DVD quality is “Good Enough”

    On the other hand Hinsen talks about “Zero tolerance for digital failure”. The guys that presented on Monday should keep that in mind. “Good Enough” is about the technology you chose, “Digital Failure” is about what can happen if you f*ck up, no matter what technology you have chosen :-)

    1. Kris Hoet says:

      Just like the first version of Gmail or say the iPhone, if the DVD was good enough then whomever came up with that needs to find a better copywriter. They are all pretty impactful technologies that changed quite the way we look at email, smartphones, …

      Most of what I saw on Mobile Monday which was referred to as ‘good enough’ was just not good. That’s the good enough that I see mostly around here and that’s what drove me to write this post.

  6. Another ” Good Enough” approach -> Report bug button :-)

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s