The key to success in any enterprise

From Bill Gates’ 2013 annual letter for the Gates Foundation; the emphasis is added by me:

Over the holidays I read The Most Powerful Idea in the World, a brilliant chronicle by William Rosen of the many innovations it took to harness steam power. Among the most important were a new way to measure the energy output of engines and a micrometer dubbed the “Lord Chancellor,” able to gauge tiny distances. Such measuring tools, Rosen writes, allowed inventors to see if their incremental design changes led to the improvements — higher-quality parts, better performance, and less coal consumption — needed to build better engines. Innovations in steam power demonstrate a larger lesson: Without feedback from precise measurement, invention is “doomed to be rare and erratic.” With it, invention becomes “commonplace.

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