Don’t just ship it: Why we worked on a new idea for 3 years
Product lessons from growing our startup to 8 million users without a single dime in outside funding
I’ve done both — ship fast and ship slow.
In both cases, I’ve made money. Shipping slow is always scarier because doubt starts creeping in. And the longer you spend on a single project, the more time you have potentially wasted. But I’ve moved away from shipping fast over the last 4 years because products have just become so darn polished these days.
The part of the article that really struck a chord with me is the part of not shipping something that’s half baked. The bar is set quite high if you look at what people launch in 2020.
Unless the app does something so completely novel and useful and needed, it’ll be hard to get users to use it.
To give you an example, I launched a really crummy Rails app on PH in 2014 that ended up as #2 with a 1000 signups. Took me 4 days to code it.. probably about a day now as I’ve improved. I don’t see that happening in 2020.
Further to all this, I can’t think of many software that’s launched today that really fits that traditional MVP concept everyone got excited about 5-7 years ago. Things shipped these days that are polished take quite a bit of time to build. With the exception of info products that can be thrown together over a weekend, software takes time.
I do think launching MVP after MVP is a mistake now. It’s hard to know if there’s even a hint of PMF without a deeper investment of product building and exploration due to what’s out there already and the quality of releases.
Like all advice, context matters so much.
The level of polish needed on a product at launch depends on so many factors. Market size, competition, what problem it's solving, your existing audience, how differentiated it is, founder experience, unfair advantages, and so on.
At the same time, building a polished product nowadays is easier than it was even 4 years ago. For both coders and no coders there's so many tools and libraries that make it easier to have a great looking UI, landing page and functionality.
The relationship between time spent and quality are also not directly related. A founder who's launched a dozen products previously is going to do the next one much faster and with more polish than someone just starting out.
That said, I do agree that launching MVP after MVP is a mistake if it's somewhat random. With each product you at least need to be learning and validating to answer specific questions, like an experiment. The learning should always lead into the next thing in some way.
Survivorship bias is a helluva drug!
Swap tips for finding users and customers.