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Just Launch the Damn Thing!
01.02.2021 | 2 mins
Tl;dr: life is short, startups are even shorter. Don’t overthink, launch faster, keep moving and iterating!
This is what people think running a startup is like (maybe):
Tall mountain peak in the distance, inaccurate and probably out-of-date maps, some kind of meandering path that nonetheless has a clear destination: to the top!
Lots of planning and thinking ahead, getting help from the right people along the way, making the best of limited resources.
Peaks and valleys in between, fair weather and foul, but if you stick with it long enough and keep your eye on the goal you’ll get there eventually.
Except running a startup is more like this:
And for some reason, no one talks about that bear. That bear probably causes more startups to fail than anything else.
When it finally catches up, that bear can take many forms. Running out of money, losing interest, burning out, partners falling out, family or life situations changing, markets shifting and opportunities disappearing… That bear is running out of time. And it is always right behind: any day, week, or month spent not moving forward lets the bear get closer.
I was going to write a longer blog post about the pitfalls of overthinking and over-engineering products before launch. I was going to talk about:
- premature optimization
- spending too much time thinking and working on features that users did not ask for
- worrying about scalability before having a single user
- optimizing decisions that affect 1% of revenue before having a single dollar of revenue
- building a perfect model of “what users want at launch” in our heads, without putting anything in front of real users
I was going to give some examples from our past projects, try to organize some of the lessons we learned, maybe even have some section headers! Get a few people to proofread the blog post, add their thoughts, and polish it to a perfect gem before releasing it to the world.
But I remembered I don’t have time for that. There’s a bear chasing me. 🐻
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are lessons learned the hard way over the years, and are not caused by frustration with anyone in particular.
The skier in the video threw their backpack to distract the bear and got away safely. I do not know what lesson this holds for startups. Always wear a backpack?