Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,


This conversation is closed.

Do you believe you can achieve quality by producing more (quantity)?

Achieving Quality by Higher Quantity
What Herbert Lui says:

'...A young lady named Jennifer Dewalt wanted to learn how to build a website. Did she spend years looking for the perfect one to model?

'Nope. She simply paid for a co-working space and took a stab at building 180 websites in 180 days. I’m under the impression that she spends the majority of her day on this initiative, and so doesn’t have another job to answer to. (Keep in mind that this option still is much more frugal than paying thousands in tuition for “hacker school” AND leaving your job to do it.)...'

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    Nov 11 2013: The value of lots of practice depends on whether you engage in challenging, reflective practice with attention to quality or whether you just repeat something endlessly in a mediocre or even incorrect way.
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    Nov 15 2013: In some circumstances quality can be achieved through a higher quantity, like if you were selling products with an interest over time you would gain enough interest to start selling things of higher quality,. Another circumstance where quantity can improve the quality is when you spend a high quantity of time perfecting something that you are inventing. investing time in your creation makes it better. So to answer your question "Yes, in some circumstances." Very good question, but also very broad considering you could be talking about anything.
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      Nov 15 2013: "Yes, in some circumstances."

      I think the summary of your answer is the most concise and precise. Thanks Hannah.
  • Nov 13 2013: Poch,

    Only if someone learns from their mistakes and has the talent to fix them in the next pass. I have seen people make the same mistake over and over again and not realize it.
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      Nov 13 2013: 'I have seen people make the same mistake over and over again and not realize it.'

      Then the problem now is the immortal stupidity -- or low IQ. There are people around me
      who commit that everyday. If people make the same mistake over and over again out of
      being stubborn, then that's unforgivable.
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        Nov 13 2013: Dear Poch,
        Are you making a judgment about other people?
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          Nov 13 2013: I'm sorry about doing that Colleen. But if you could see how I get
          victimized by stubborn people until now, you would understand.
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        Nov 13 2013: Poch,
        Speaking of victims......
        Did you see my question on another comment thread?

        "Colleen Steen
        13 hours ago: Poch,
        It just occurred to me......are you anywhere near the typhoon? Are you and your family safe?"
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          Nov 13 2013: I wonder now why that comment escaped me ma'am.

          Thank you for your concern. We who live in metro Manila NCR are safe
          as almost always. It's our provinces which are always devastated and the
          provinces which were devastated most are very far on another island.
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        Nov 13 2013: Poch,
        I wrote the question in your other discussion..."Will you exchange the peace of mind you get from gardening..."

        It was/is totally off topic, and there was other dialogue, so it is not surprising that you missed it. I am glad to hear you are safe, and my heart goes out to all those who are not safe and in need of assistance.
      • Nov 13 2013: Poch,

        I am not sure that the level of intelligence is the total answer. I think it has to do with how the person thinks -they may ignore some details and hence the mistake. I had a colleague that had his PHD in EE and imho was the 4th best analog designer I had ever met. He always made roughly the same mistakes in his programs. They worked but were very slow. (4 hours instead of 20 minutes) It was the way he thought and approached problems.
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          Nov 13 2013: 'It was the way he thought and approached problems.'

          Great Wayne. You're leading us to details. Your example reminded me of
          programming. Make a coding error and the computer will keep repeating
          the error. Like our minds have coding errors. Mental bias is the primary
          suspect -- underestimating something repeatedly. Even our past could
          mold the way we think.

          Some see the big picture, some the obscure details. Which could be now
          a subject for debate: Which one is better?
  • Nov 12 2013: Real quality is achieved by efficient allocation of resources.

    Traditionally, a person would specialize in a trait and produce a higher quality service or product by practicing and becoming more efficient.

    Industrial revolution caused mass production and loss of quality.

    Now, we are shifting technological advancements to produce a large quantity with extreme quality.

    *Check out 3D printers, I am not saying this is it, but it has quantity and quality potential.
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    Nov 12 2013: I think there are two ways one could look at it.
    1) producing 180 websites in 180 days certainly provides you with practice. However, in order to build a website you have to have the basic skills. Once you have them, you can improve on them through practice.
    For example: you learn how to build a HTML page and then produce 180 websites. Most likely, the last one will be better than the first. However, you still wouldn't have any idea how to use Java script for example, because that's not what your skills are about.
    2) Repeating the same task over and over again (building 180 sites) not only makes you better over time but you also might get lucky once in a while and build an exceptionally good site. The more sites you build, the higher the possibility of creating an exceptional one.
    • Comment deleted

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        Nov 12 2013: Hi Poch ;-)
        Well, there remains the question whether or not this approach is the most efficient one.
        It also depends on the degree of complexity of the task.
        If you build a plane you either know how to build it or you don't. There is no way trying to build 180 planes, hoping that one turns out just fine.
        • Nov 13 2013: But surely that's exactly what we did Harald? The birth of aviation, people all over the world with no idea what they were doing built thousands of different planes, a few of them worked. Then people with little idea of why they worked built thousands of variants until they worked rather well.
          On the other hand "The more sites you build, the higher the possibility of creating an exceptional one." doesn't ring true either so I'm definitely out of my depth. Thomas Hetherwick didn't build 180 bridges and hope that one of them would curl up nicely when he pressed a button, he spent a huge amount of time designing a single bridge that would almost definitely curl up.
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        Nov 13 2013: Nik, there are different ways how to do things.
        One is the engineer who studied for years and then added a lot of working experience and who knew exactly how to design a bridge that curls up the way he wanted it to.
        Then there are people who only got basics and start building something based on this basic knowledge (such as the web designer). Since the knowledge is only basic, his work will not be that great either, but adding more knowledge over time plus the practice in doing the job might eventually lead to great results.
        Without any knowledge of the task at hand you can't neither build a bridge, nor a website nor a plane.
        As I said, the question is what approach is more efficient.
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          Nov 13 2013: And another question is being begged:
          Which is better: book (college degree) without experience or experience without book?
          From things I have witnessed, learning by experience had more success (most even
          jolted the bookish bosses!).
  • Nov 11 2013: Good answers when it comes to people making things, however there is an example of quantity creating quality and that is when computers do it through iterative processes. Think of Captcha 2.0 where there are two words. One of those words is a captcha 1.0 and the other is a scanned word. by typing your captcha response you are helping to translate a body of text from a scan into an electronic form. try it out, if you come across a captcha with two words only type in the word that looks like a captcha and skip the word that looks like it was scanned in, the captcha will be accepted even if you omit the scanned word.

    also there was a ted talk, can't remember who, but he was talking about a solar collector that they used an iterative algorithm to create hundreds of theoretical prototypes and used those prototypes to reenter parameters to come up with a better solar collector.

    Short answer, humans no, computers yes!
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    Nov 11 2013: If you want to learn a musical instrument (for example) then quantity of practicing will help you get better quality quicker.
    However, the law of diminishing returns will mean that as you learn towards your level of ultimate highest skill, eventually no amount of quantity practicing will improve your quality any further.
  • Nov 11 2013: When its a person doing the production, practice can indeed improve quality; or at least speed.
    When production is largely automated, not so much.
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    Nov 13 2013: This is important
    TED has deleted my Pocholo Peralta account where we are having this discussion.
    If by any chance you are not allowed anymore to add replies, please reply on my
    Poch Peralta account. Thanks.
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    Nov 13 2013: A comment from Wayne led me to this question:
    Which way of thinking is better:
    Seeing the 'big picture' or seeing obscure details?
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    Nov 13 2013: Hi Poch!
    Quality is not necessarily achieved, if the intent is simply to produce more, and quality may be challenged when it is not part of the intent. If one wants to produce quality AND quantity, I believe it is possible with mindful, awareness and intent to do so:>)
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      Nov 13 2013: 'Quality is not necessarily achieved,...'

      Ahh... that was keen Colleen. Now you are implying talent which I should have mentioned earlier.
      Yes ma'am. Quality comes naturally with talent. If there's such thing as mediocre talent, it's up to
      the person with talent to sharpen it.
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        Nov 13 2013: Yes Poch, I believe talent is an important element when combining quality and quantity. In my perception and experience, there are several more elements. Mindful awareness embraces talent, skills, determination, patience, persistence, belief in ourselves, etc.........all available, relevant information and resources.
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    Nov 12 2013: A funny twist for our discussion

    How well-intended passion (quantity of practice) can lead us to trouble
    Pianist Faces Jail Over Incessant Practicing

    There is one thing common among serious artists: passion. And only decisive actions can stop a passionate person.

    'A pianist is on trial and facing a possible jail sentence of more than seven years after a neighbour complained her playing had caused her psychological damage.

    'The neighbour, known only as Sonia B, said she had to endure eight-hour practice sessions by Laia Martin, who lived below her in Puigcerda, Spain...'
  • Nov 12 2013: In pottery, repetition is exactly how you learn. I know of potters who started out by making cylinder after cylinder for MONTHS ... cutting each one in half at the end of making each one to study the walls and bottom thickness. At the end of the day, they would re-wedge the clay and start fresh with it the following day. The potter keeps making cylinders until she/he can successfully make excellent cylinders within a few minutes. After this, they try making bowls in much the same manner. It is a good lesson for life.
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    Nov 12 2013: Yes
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    Nov 12 2013: As part of a learning curve, yes.
  • Nov 11 2013: No. With quantity, the goal is mainly to acquire the most in the least amount of time. Quality, however, is attributed to the scale of excellence of an object. Usually, quality is lost when attempting quantity. Therefore, you could theorize that the higher the quantity, the lower the quality. But human nature refutes this. It is our nature to improve what we repeatedly do, summed up by the phrase "Practice makes perfect". As we continually create, we make improvements to our creations. So, in time, the quality can improve without losing quantity. But you have asked for the reverse. It is probable that when reproducing, say, a chair, that a carpenter may improve in speed as he learns how the wood fits together, but he will never improve the quality while increasing the quantity of chairs produced yearly. Therefore, no, you cannot achieve quality by producing more quantity.