Seth’s Blog: The difference between blueberries and apples

(one bad blueberry spoils the whole bunch)

If you serve yourself blueberries by the handful, you won’t be able to inspect each one. And so just one rotten blueberry can ruin the entire bowl of cereal.

An apple is different. It’s hand picked. Pick the wrong one and it’s not such a big deal, you can just pick another.

If you sell apples, then, the goal is to make the great ones great, really great. If you’re in the blueberry business, on the other hand, the goal is to eliminate defects.

An artist who works on matters of personal taste, then, can afford to go to the edges… in fact, she must. Let the buyer choose! Books and paintings and houses are apples.

The manufacturer of fungible items, on the other hand, embraces six sigma, because recovering from a failure is expensive (and it’s your fault). Sutures are blueberries.

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