There’s a famous saying that’s been floating around in the entrepreneurial community for quite some time. “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
These are the words of Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, one of the most successful social networks for business professionals. Hoffman’s success on its own says something about the effectiveness of this strategy, but there’s more to it than just that.
There’s some very good reasons why so many entrepreneurs support this philosophy. Using this approach can have a major impact on how a new product or feature is received, and, ultimately, determine whether a business will sink or swim.
What Is the “Iterate Fast & Release Often” Philosophy?
The iterate fast and release often philosophy is a belief adapted by a number of entrepreneurs who contend that it’s best to release a product as soon as possible, then work on perfecting it and releasing updated versions rather than waiting to release a product before it’s perfect.
Why It Works
A lot of new business owners are nervous about releasing a product with flaws, so they wait. Meanwhile, someone else comes along with a similar idea and gets in the market right away. Because they beat you to the punch, now they get all of the attention, market share, and data. This can create a lot of problems.
When you release your product right away, you minimize the risk. Plus, there’s another really good reason why you shouldn’t spend all of your time trying to perfect your product before launching: you don’t yet know exactly what your users want.
Of course, any good business will do some amount of research before creating a product. You want to establish the base of your product. But you shouldn’t waste your time trying to perfect all of the details and features. You’ll find out all of that information soon after you launch from your users.
Understanding the Value of Customer Feedback
Product research is great, but there’s truly no better way to create the perfect product than by getting feedback from your customers. Your customers will tell you exactly what they want and need. Once you have that information, you can continue enhancing your product until it’s perfect.
This way, you can avoid spending time creating features that no one wants or uses. That’s literally the worst thing you can do. Especially since time is of the essence. The longer you want to launch, the more you risk someone else getting their product on the market before yours.
Lesson: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Sure, if you launch right away, your product might not be perfect. You’ll probably encounter some bugs, but that’s okay. Your customers will be stoked by the simple fact that your product exists and get even more excited when you fix and update it. They’ll forgive you for any small defects so long as your product is functional and useful.
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