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The danger of bad solutions

I used to be a fan of Guy Kawasaki’s “Don’t Worry, Be Crappy” just-get-it-done-and-make-it-better-later mantra. I still am for most entrepreneurial situations.

But lately I’ve been nailed a few times by a band-aid solution.

#1: We own a giant mobile battery for camping that can also jump start a car. One day the car wouldn’t start. So we jumped it ourselves. And again, and again, and again for two weeks. When we finally went to the dealer, they replaced the bad battery for free in 20 minutes.

Because we had a bad solution — the ability to jump ourselves — we lived with a problem for weeks instead of fixing it for real.

#2: Our office has a firm on contract to fix our computers. Increasingly, they aren’t around or aren’t available, so we fix little things ourselves. No big deal, we’re good at it. But when we have a big crash, these guys aren’t there when we need them. Should have seen it coming, should have replaced them.

Because we had a bad solution — the ability to fix it ourselves — we lived with a problem for months instead of fixing it for real.

Lesson: Learn to spot an inadequate solution that hides a problem instead of fixing it. A quick fix is good, but a crutch that lets you ignore a bigger problem isn’t.

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