It is a norm for most startup founders to always want to ensure everything works right and perfect before launching or shipping the first version of their product. As a startup founder myself, I have been in that “perfectionism zone” where I worked tirelessly to ensure everything works perfectly before launching until I mastered the art of being crappy. This may not be the desire of every startup founder because everyone wants to make a “wow” first impression. But the reality is that, it is better to get things done faster and ship/launch a crappy version than ship/launch late, a perfect version that becomes a clone when it gets to market. This is because not only you may be working on the idea at that time.
The Build-Measure-Learn loop, developed by Eric Ries, Authour of Lean Startup suggests the best way of building an amazing solution that users want is to launch fast and continue building incrementally. This helps the startup founder to get feedback from users and thereafter improve the solution based on the feedback and suggestions of the users.
To minimize risk complexity, deliver bad news early.
Paul Graham, founder of Y-Combinator, validates the idea of launching early at the 8th point of his 18 mistakes that kills startups. He identified fear of being judged; fear of having to deal with users; working on too many different things and excessive perfectionism to be the reasons why most startup founders delay in launching their product or services. He however advised that these problems can be combated by simply forcing oneself to launch something fairly quickly.
In his 9 tips to master the Art of Innovation, Guy Kawasaki, former Apple product evangelist and Author of the “Art of Social media” noted that, in a bid to ship a perfect version bundled with “kickass” features, most companies end of shipping/launching a product the market is not in high demand for. This is a dilemma every startup founder must avoid.
The focus of startup founders should be on getting to market early. Early adopters will gladly accept flaws in a real innovation; the model can be perfected with scale.
The same holds true for social ventures. Think of it this way, will the endangered species you save, care about the logo you use on your website? Will the starving child you feed, care about the thickness of your business card? Will the infant who receives life-changing surgery care whether or not you even have an office? Execute the best you can. Focus on what matters most.