YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=7dxcO26i9uw
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SHE'S WILD!!! I can't decide whether this is a good title or a reaaaaaly terrible one. Which is also roughly how I feel about this video.

The Perfect Pot Allegory as I found it: https://betterlifecoachingblog.com/2012/05/11/the-ceramics-teacher-a-story-about-the-benefits-of-mistakes/

Also, come see John and me on tour! http://www.hankgreen.com Every ticket comes with a free book!



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Hank: Good morning John. At VidCon Australia, Ashley Perez gave a talk at which she talked about an allegory that she read on the internet that was written by a guy who was told the allegory by a teacher. It's been around. I liked it. It resonated with me. I'm gonna call it the allegory of the Perfect Pot.

A pottery teacher divides her class into two groups for the whole semester. I don't know why she does it. She's- She's wild! She tells one group, "You are tasked with making one pot. You have to only make one pot and it has to be the perfect pot and at the end of th semester we're gonna enter it into a pot competition." And to the other group she says, "You are tasked with making as many unique pots as possible. I don't care how good they are." SHE'S WILD! The semester begins and the first, they start working on researching and planning and designing and "what is a perfect pot?". And the other group is already, like, sixteen minutes in covered head to toe in goop. And it all culminates to the end of the semester when we find the group of people who just made lots of pots actually made better pots than the one pot that everybody worked really hard on forever and it was just one pot, because John, it doesn't matter how good you are at something, your first pot's gonna suck. And it doesn't matter how much you suck, your thousandth pot is gonna be pretty good.

This is, more, or less the philosophy I have created under for the last eleven years and it has worked pretty well. I make a pot, I present it for judgment, I receive feedback, I use that feedback to make another pot which I present and receive feedback, I use that feedback to make another pot which I then present and then people give me feedback on the pot and then I use that feedback to make another pot and I have made a lot of videos!

In information security there is a term called "brute force hacking". That's where you just hit a system with so many iterations of various passwords that eventually you just find a password that works. It's not elegant. It's not planned. It's not careful. It's just brute force. I am a brute force creator. It's the only way I know how to do it.

And you can't do that with a book. You can't write a hundred books and throw away the first ninety-nine. I will say that these hundreds of vlogbrothers videos I have made were a good writing apprenticeship. I wrote a lot of creative nonfiction and this book, in a way, is a nonfiction book written by a fictional character. But, nothing prepared me for the process of sitting for half a decade with the same lump of clay: turning it into a pot, hating it, punching it until it was just a lump of clay again, turning it into a pot, being like "that's disappointing", punching it, and then turning it into a pot. And then, thinking "I did it. Look, my pot!" and I call the professor in, in the form of my agent and my editor and my sensitivity readers and my friends and my family and they were like, "Actually, let's punch this thing a few more times." I then I did this (weird hand wavy motion) some more to the pot, this is how you make a pot. And then at the end I had what I think and what other people seem to mostly think is a pretty good pot. It's a very different process. That wasn't just like, a hard process for me. It felt wrong. I, even though I had never heard the allegory of the Perfect Pot, I believed in it and I have done things that way for so long that doing the thing, the very thing the allegory says you shouldn't do! It seemed wrong. But, I felt like I had to because I felt like this was the only way that I was gonna be able to tell the story and talk about the things I wanted to talk about and I did it and I'm happy.

John, I will see you on Monday, because we need to prep for our very weird stage show/book tour thing that we're doing that I'm very excited about. And then everyone else will see you on Tuesday. The day that my book comes out. I hope you like my pot.