The Final 10%

Over the last year and a half, I’ve gained an insight that I’m still coming to terms with: The importance of the final 10% of any project.

I’ve spent the past six years trying to get friends and strangers to care about the things I care about—through writing and photography. Both allow me to take an idea, give it a digestible form, and push it out for the world to see. With free publishing tools at my disposal, I can virtually fill the internet with my words.

But attention is scarce, and I’ve found that no matter how much conviction and passion I threw into a creative project, the most difficult bit would be for the project to get noticed.

The decisive step, I’ve come to realize, concerns the final 10% of any project. Not coming up with the idea and making it come alive, but taking time to polish, QA, and promote.

None of these are particularly attractive tasks, and I’m realizing that I’ve long made the mistake of neglecting them. I considered the initial leap of creation so important that I would conveniently overlook the rest. Missing the enthusiasm and excitement that carried me through a creative bit, I cast the final 10% aside, blaming scarce attention spans, Facebook’s algorithms, or just bad luck for failing to cut through the noise.

I believe that some of these reason are valid, but they shouldn’t be an excuse not to go the extra mile. Making sure whatever you’re working doesn’t just rely on a good idea, but follows it up with perfect execution is what truly sets something apart—and I’m going to start doing exactly that.1

  1. I am fully aware of the irony that this is a short piece without images or flashy graphics. But it serves a different purpose: This is my way of publicly sharing a lesson and letting it sink in.