A Case For Imperfection
When you’re working on a project, there’s no sweeter word than “DONE.” I’ll admit to some high fives, a few loud “HELL YAYS!” or even an occasional dance (after making sure there are no recording devices present) in celebration. Finally realizing the fruits of your hard work is quite addictive indeed: conceive an idea-birth a project-slave away-reap rewards-rinse-repeat. Yet you are smart enough to know that this process is not always quite linear (otherwise, I wouldn’t be wasting your time with this article), and there’s a subtle nuance of knowing when to bust out in that crazy booty dance and when to keep laboring away.
Does it take a perfect product to have a perfect product launch? Does your product have to be in its utmost final state before you can share it with the world? Steve Jobs (and yours truly) thinks not. Depending on the type of product, there might be room to improve once it is released. Your business can follow a similar pattern.
Imagine you’re building a beautiful 50-story high-rise that will take two years to finish. At the end of year one, the building exterior, 1st floor, and landscape is finished, and all that remains is the internal construction on each floor. Does it make sense to start signing up tenants only when the last nail is in place? Would you wait till the conference halls on the 3rd floor are finished? No, sir! I would be sitting in a sales building across the street, luring people in with colorful brochures, drawings, and models (“models” being renditions of apartments and/or scantly clad women).
The delicate art of balancing on the verge of “product completion” and “product release” is not that complicated, yet requires a bit of thought and attention. As perfecting the product requires time and financial resources (not to mention that your idea of “perfection” might be different from that of your customers), strive toward designing your project with levels of improvement built in. The multi-stage process allows for modifications and enhancement as resources become more available and you accumulate customer feedback. However, avoid falling into the “good enough” trap: a greatly flawed or incomplete creation will not attract the customers and resources to help improve it. Bet you already knew that.
Whether you’re starting a bakery, hotel, or a blog site, there are always ways to trim down the Grand Opening requirements and get your business started sooner than later. Bonus: you might be able to at least beat the competition to it, and claim the first mover’s advantage. Building brand awareness and bringing in cash a few days earlier are always good reasons to start, and you will also identify areas for improvement on your way to creating the perfect mouse trap.
P.S. I wrote this post a few months ago, but isn’t it appropriate that this is the first article I release on a website that according to me isn’t “done” yet? =)