The Upsetting Side Effects of “Ready, Fire, Aim”

If you subscribe to Michael Masterson’s “Ready, Fire, Aim” philosophy, you’re no doubt going to notice an unappealing side effect.

Sometimes, you’re going to screw up.

But don’t be too hard on yourself. Making mistakes – even downright failing – is a part of the learning process that you should welcome with open arms. Michael Masterson calls this the secret of accelerated failure. “If you tense up and focus on avoiding mistakes, you will learn very slowly,” he says. “If you relax, let the mistakes happen, and learn from them, you will advance quickly.”

Take ETR for example. We recently made changes to the look of our e-newsletter. Our goal: to make ETR easier for you and the rest of our 480,000 subscribers to receive and read.

The ETR team figured out what we thought we needed to do to make the newsletter more readable, more spam-proof, and less high-tech. We tested our ideas using many of the most popular Internet service providers and mail-reading programs… made a few changes… and tested again.

But instead of testing forever, we decided that the test period was over. We knew we were “Ready,” so we “Fired” by sending out an e-mail in the new format. When Murphy’s Law struck and we discovered that some e-mail providers made ETR less readable in the new format – the exact opposite of our intention – we immediately fixed it. And we’ve been continuing to fine-tune (”Aim”) the new format ever since.

If you want to make an improvement to your business, you need to make it happen fast. Every second you wait, you’re wasting precious dollars or losing potential customers. That’s why it’s so important to “Fire” quickly.

Yes, you need to do the appropriate research and testing to make sure you’re “Ready.” But then you need to stop angling for perfection and throw your project out into the real world. And THEN you can take the time to “Aim.”

[Ed. Note: How do you like ETR’s new format? Let us know at]

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