Watched a video of Chris Anderson talk about free and the future of television this morning. That reminded me that he wrote recently on Wired that in the digital world, waste is not only good, it’s mandatory (the video doesn’t really add anything to the article in case you’re wondering).
This however brought to my mind a discussion I had with Colleen DeCourcy on the subject last week. I made a point how it is necessary to convince advertisers today to waste some resources in order to see what works – put five things out there, see which two work, harvest their success, and fail fast (and cheap) with the rest. Colleen however made a good point in arguing against my waste point: in the digital world, you can measure everything – both the successes and the failures. And anything you can measure and learn from the experience can’t really be considered waste (unless of course you continue to fail time after time – in which case you’re not learning). In addition, in the digital world you also have an opportunity to recycle much of the stuff you produce (if you’re in that mode to begin with), which further diminishes waste.
Which leads me to my conclusion that in digital, waste isn’t good after all – it doesn’t exist. What do you think?