The Other Reason For Launching Early

1/13/11

Reid Hoffman once said, “If you aren’t embarrassed by what you launched with, you waited too long to launch.”

We all know the obvious reasons why: the sooner you launch, the sooner you can get feedback from real users. The sooner you get feedback from real users, the quicker you can iterate, evolve and optimize the product. The faster you optimize, the closer you get to creating a product that people actually want. No matter how many focus groups or customer surveys you’ve done, there’s only one real way to know that you’ve created something people actually care about: get it in their hands.

Those are the obvious reasons — build the Minimum Viable Product and quickly iterate until you find the product-market fit. It’s a lot easier said than done, but that’s for another post.

Based on recent experiences, I think there’s another, underrated reason for shipping early, even when the product isn’t quite ready.

Development speed.

Your product is your baby. You love it. You care for it. You want it to be great and pretty and polished and wonderful.

But when an embarrassment of a product is out there and users aren’t happy, a kitten dies for every second that goes by — that’s how you feel. You almost don’t even wanna put your name on the product. It eats at you. It makes you cringe. You can’t sleep. You can’t eat. You can’t do anything at all until your product is cleaned up and right.

You work your tail off and stuff gets done quickly. It happens much faster than had you decided to not launch. There’s a healthy pressure that happens when your baby is out there and either users just don’t care or they’re unhappy. It forces you to move swiftly. You hate to wake up everyday to the embarrassment, just staring at you in the face.

Launch early. It’s okay to be a little embarrassed. You’ll get to the feedback loop sooner but also you’ll work a lot faster. Double whammy. Booyah.

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