Friday, September 23, 2011

Iterations

One of the biggest disconnects & questions between startup personalities and others working on a project is the idea of when a product is finished.

Answer: It's never finished during the startup phase.

This is tough for traditional developers to embrace and can be frustrating when there are constant changes coming from founders seeking the right balance of features to serve people.

The reality is we really don't know. We have a vision, which leads to concepts and a path forward, and along the way we learn new things and shape the product (i.e., new features or different approaches to the vision), test it out with our friends and family, absorb feedback and let it percolate, and come back with a new list of changes.

"But we just did that". It's frustrating.

Yes, we built this house, and the customer wants the ceilings 3 feet higher and contiguous windows all around the house, like a spaceship.

"But we just did that." Sigh.

That is actually not what we just did.

What we did was do a ton of work that moved the engine along, took a very good stab at the interface, got a lot of great, useful feedback, and learned some important things.

And with an evolved vision, we take another stab, we try again. Fail, recover, try again. Rinse, repeat.

Sometimes it feels like you're wandering in the desert for 40 years, seeking clarity, seeking the truth, seeking that amazing feeling of absolute confidence.

That's why tenacity is so important.

It takes time to evolve ideas, and more time to memorialize them in code. If you don't build it, you can't feel it. If you can't feel it, you can't know how to rebuild it so you really nail it. You can't cross that gap unless you have a lot of luck, where your execution meets the vision perfectly and your people (users) dig it enough to come back regularly (free app), or pay and stay.

So where are we?
  • On Monday we'll relaunch Jawaya (name change on the way). 
  • We're not addressing the full vision--we're simply making it an easy way of saving and organizing the links you value
  • ...privately, with optional sharing/following
If we can get that part right, the rest will follow. But I'm going to bet this: we'll have at least 2 more releases before we fully nail it so people want to use it and tell their friends about it. I admire the brilliant product people who are able to nail it the first time out. I'm not one of them, nor are most founders. 

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