Love this from Seth (got it in email today, and if you like it, you should go sign up for his emails; they’re pretty good stuff):
“At the lab, the pressure is to keep searching for a breakthrough, a new way to do things. And it’s accepted that the cost of this insight is failure, finding out what doesn’t work on your way to figuring out what does. The lab doesn’t worry so much about exploiting all the value of what it produces–they’re too busy working on the next thing.
To work in the lab is to embrace the idea that what you’re working on might not work. Not to merely tolerate this feeling, but to seek it out.
The factory, on the other hand, prizes reliability and productivity. The factory wants no surprises, it wants what it did yesterday, but faster and cheaper.
Some charities are labs, in search of the new thing, while others are factories, grinding out what’s needed today. AT&T is a billing factory, in search of lower costs, while Bell Labs was the classic lab, in search of the insight that could change everything.
Hard, really hard, to do both simultaneously. Anyone who says failure is not an option has also ruled out innovation.”
In my opinion, this is the hardest task for a small business owner, and nearly impossible. How do you innovate while also concentrating on the necessities of scaling (efficiency, repeatability, sales team, marketing message). This is where getting outside eyes to look at your work and ideas has great value. The more experience and industry knowledge your “outside eyes” have, the better. That means you will probably have to pay for the eyes, but that’s good. You don’t value information you get for free.