On one hand, you have the burning desire to create something remarkable, memorable, and of sheer quality. It takes time, love and hard work, and you run the risk that it will go unappreciated, for after all you are pandering to your own notion of what needs to be said and done. After all, to paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, you don’t do art to make money, you do art to make your soul grow.
On the other hand, there’s the real, gut-wrenching need to make money (or any other metric of success – search rankings, pageviews, awards, booty). This is the drive to optimize, to tap into market consciousness, measure what works (and what doesn’t), and to ruthlessly churn out content (or products – define your own output) according to your scientific formula of success (usually translates into PageViews = Money).
We know that quality and success CAN go hand in hand – it’s just that success is easier without if you don’t have to worry about quality and it’s the execution of an idea that makes the real difference, not how good it is.
As a professional blogger and entrepreneur, I face the quality v success challenge every day. There are thousands of blogs in dozens of niches that are doing spectacularly well by following the PageViews = Money formula and are quite successful ventures for their owners, although at their core the product is decidedly third-rate. Reading these blogs angers me because I expect better from the top bloggers, but at the same time there’s an admiration for their unwavering commitment to doing what works and continued amazement at how we overestimate the intelligence of our readers (selfishly, I might add).
So….what’s more important for you – creating quality or creating success?