Launch Before You're Ready

We launched.

That’s right - this weekend, we flipped the switch, and you can now sign up for CrowdSync. Were we ready to launch? Nope, not really. Are we proud of the current state of the product? Nope, not really.

So, why did we launch? Because you should launch before you’re ready.

When you’re building something new, launch is a mystical thing. People fetishize launch like it’s this massive, important event - a life-changing flip of a switch that results in (nearly immediate) fame and fortune.

The problem is, that’s not how it works. When you launch, usually, not much happens. If you’ve built a big pre-sale list, then perhaps you snag a few users that afternoon. Otherwise, this big milestone comes and goes as quietly as the rest of your project to date. Building up launch as a huge moment actually does more harm than good, by drawing an incorrect distinction in the life of your product, and creating a milestone that inevitably leads to some kind of disappointment (“We didn’t get enough users”, “We didn’t plan for this scale”, “We forgot to add a support channel of some kind”).

Most people wait until things are perfect to launch their products. They want everything to be as bug-free as possible, for all their favorite features to be there. That’s a nice ideal, but all it means is that you’re waiting longer and longer to see how your product actually works for your potential customers. More time in the echo chamber means more risk that you’re saying the wrong stuff to yourself about what the market needs. Launching earlier, when you’re not ready, helps to alleviate that, getting people around the product faster, which only leads to a better product, faster.

People worry about this launch thing way too much. “We can’t launch if we’re not ready, people will hate us/curse us on social media/cause a ruckus in our support center”. Fact is, that rarely, if ever, happens. You launch, users shrug, and you go out to try and make something they actually love. The longer you wait to get to that point, the longer you risk being wrong, something a startup doesn’t have the luxury of doing.

We need to focus our attention in the right places. Stop worrying about when you should launch, and instead, start focusing on what kind of feedback you’re getting from your first 10 users. Stop worrying about writing the perfect press release, and start focusing on getting out of the building and finding the gap between what you built, and what people want.

Launch parties, countdowns and other launch fetish celebrate the wrong thing. Launching isn’t the goal, building something people love is. Launch when you’re embarrassed, and use that embarrassment to drive you to find that perfect product as quickly as possible.

Go ahead, sign up for CrowdSync. It doesn’t do a ton right now (although, that’s changing by the hour), but you’ll be one of the first people we reach out to and ask what we can build to help you better solve your problems.

Next issue.

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