The serve is considered to be the most difficult stroke to master in tennis. Performing a root cause analysis of all the things that can go wrong with it, you often end up with a faulty *toss*.

Toss is the motion of throwing the ball into the air before hitting it.

Looks simple, is hard.

My coach said something to me the other day that has stuck in my mind. Here’s what he said: “The trick with learning to serve, is to first learn to patiently wait for the good toss. The game itself doesn’t dictate any limit to how many tosses you’re allowed to walk away from, only your patience does.”

Then he asked me to consciously make an effort to abandon any toss that didn’t feel absolutely right, and challenged me to try and do so three times in a row for any given attempt at serving.

Astonishingly, I found that I simply couldn’t do it!

It made me think of the action film-trope of “aborting the mission”. I distinctly remember the first time I came across the word abortion in this non-medical context, so take note every time it pops up. It’s always the same thing: Command center signals to the people in the field to abort, but the people in the field can’t help but disobeying the order, compulsively making that last (fatal) effort.

If you’ve never seen this scene, here’s one typical example.

Then it made me think of the counter-intuitive but proven fact that most features shipped in a typical software project are rarely used, and that an alarmingly high percentage of new features actually contribute to lowering the percieved quality of the product.

And *then* I thought of the news the other day that Apple is quietly deciding to drop its ambition to build an electric car, after having spent a decade and untold billions on the effort.

That’s such a brave move. Steve Jobs famously said that real artists ship, but the Swedish singer Ulf Lundell was perhaps even more profound in stating that a cancelled concert is also a concert.