Let Thousand Flowers Bloom

You may’ve heard this phrase also in a more humble (and original) form “let hundred flowers bloom”. And I don’t know about you, but I usually come across it in business context, where it means for the business to try many different ways at the same time. For example try many different products for different segments and see what catches on.

I’ve always had a problem with this phrase.

I am convinced, that for anything to succeed in the web business today, it needs to be polished in what it does. As John Gruber puts it:

Figure out the absolute least you need to do to implement the idea, do just that, and then polish the hell out of the experience.

Problem is, you can’t polish the experience of thousand or even hundred flowers at the same time, no matter how big company you are. See Google.

Polishing is usually thought about as the sort of “last 20 %” of the project, maybe less. Applying the 80/20 rule here, I would suggest, that it may be that 20 % making the 80 % of results. So we would be wise to put a lot of effort to it, which is exactly what you can’t do with “thousand of flowers”.

And anyway, why should you listen to something a known mass murderer proposed?