It's ok to be a little embarrassed
As our previous post referenced, your focus should be on getting your product into the hands of key stakeholders. This means focusing solely on developing the essential components of your initial product and not being distracted by nice-to-haves. As LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman famously put it: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
Mr. Hoffman’s point is a lesson that we’ve learned the hard way. It’s easy to let perfectionist tendencies take over, holding the release of your product until it’s perfect in your mind. Of course, that’s impossible. A product cannot be perfected until real, unbiased feedback has been generated. Feedback received from prospective investors or users of your product will undoubtedly guide you in making updates, enhancements, tweaks, pivots, pirouettes, and full-blow trapeze act changes to your product.
prototype to please
To save time and money, especially if you plan to raise capital to fund your company or product and need something prospective investors can see and touch, consider starting with a prototype. This is a system that mimics what your full-blown system will do when it’s developed. You can then use the prototype to get feedback from prospective future customers and investors prior to spending the resources needed to develop the fully functioning web or mobile product.
minimal viable product (mvp)
Or, if you need more than a prototype, if a fully functioning product best fits your needs, focus on creating the minimal viable product (MVP). Determine your exact scope upfront, and rigorously fight scope creep throughout the development process assuring that only the most core functionality of your product is consuming your pre-launch time and financial resources. Tweaks will be required post-launch either way, but waiting for feedback will assure that you are properly allotting your resources when it is time to make those adjustments.