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QUALITY OF QUANTITY

May 31st, 2019

So goes the old saying: Quantity has a quality all its own.

 

This concept can manifest in a number of different ways.  Whether it be Ulysses S. Grant pushing towards victory with a higher quantity of soldiers, or a photographer who takes millions of pictures, quantity produces certain qualities that cannot be achieved reliably through any other means.

 

For Grant, the quality of quantity is simply being able to throw more weight on one side of the equation and keep it that way until the Civil War ended in his favor.

 

The quality of quantity created by the photographer, on the other hand, is more interesting and important.

 

Take enough pictures and one is bound to come out well.  While this may at first seem like a slap in the face to the art and practice of photography, it is nonetheless correct.  Given a random distribution of results from a varying application of an action, some of these results are bound to be good if not spectacular given a large enough pool of results to sample. 

 

Write a million words and there’s bound to be a few sentences that sparkle.  But the point here is that

it’s more likely there will be sparkling sentences in a million words as opposed to just a few thousand words.  The quantity that we produce as creators dictates how much imaginative territory we cover and this furthermore dictates how many chances and opportunities we have to come across real gems of creativity.

 

This is part of the logic behind Tinkered Thinking’s daily episodes.  While it’s silly think that all episodes would be great, it’s reasonable to operate with the assumption that more good episodes will inevitably arise in the process.

 

While a creator can toil away, trying to raise the quality of less work, the creator who invokes quantity before quality inevitably – with enough time - gets both, whereas the former creator who concentrates solely on quality without understanding the benefit of quantity is not even guaranteed one these two.

 

This concentration on quantity also helps when starting things.  Part of understanding the benefits of quantity is that much of it is going to be subpar, like sifting for gold, much of the material moved is just useless slag.  Understanding this decreases any pestering notions of perfection and quickly strips away any fantasies about achieving the ideal result right off the bat.  A creator who knows that a great deal of content is going to be produced can simply get to work instead of perseverating over the perfect way to start.


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Podcast Ep. 411: Quality of Quantity

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