An article that says it all: http://www.startupnation.com/business-articles/9713/1/speed-more-im...
What are your lessons in building and launching a web start-up in South Africa?
I completely disagree with that article.
The author is planting a seed, that says "release now and let users guide your product". He then sites some examples of how businesses have succeeded on this model which has no grounds in reality. His advice is mixed and ambiguous, but the overriding message is wrong.
Microsoft Word (Mult-Tool Word) did not release a product cheaply or early. They built the product as properly as they could and then learnt that people preferred WordPerfect. Word then began changing and mimicking WordPerfect more and cleaning itself up. That is not an example of release early. Its an example of study your competition and the market that exists, dont just do something against the grain because you think its cool.
The author then sites an Example of Google vs Yahoo. Well Google did not release quickly either. They definitely did not release cheaply. They got a massive capital injection. PC Magazine reported (in the first few years) that Google returned good results, this is surely not because they released early. Nor did they get lots of user feedback during this time.
The title of the article is "Why Speed is more important than Perfection for your startup"
Time to market is a serious point and one should always consider getting your brand out there as quickly as you can, but not to the detriment of your product. Would it have mattered if Google got their first cheque a few months later? probably not. In fact no one was reinventing search at that time, and one could even imagine them making it a year or so later.
I have not read anything anywhere that says, if google did not go to market when they did they would not have made it.
I do agree with some of the advice, dont brainstorm to death (who does), accept your product will change (it will), be your own competition (keep pushing forward).
However. the article is wish washy at best, perhaps written in a single draft like this post I am writing.
Here are my top facets to a good venture.
1. Have a good core idea.
2. Improve the idea
3. Do not stray from the core idea, unless you have to
4. determine what the minimum functionality must be (by an expert, if its not your forte, find someone)
5. get feedback from as many as you can without damaging your brand or idea
6. always get money for marketing (its a fallacy that users will come via social or word of mouth)
7. its not easy - work harder and longer than anyone else you know
8. once you are up and running, be there. I mean 24/7, forums, email, helping users, improving, changing, adding.
9. If its not getting traction start from point 2
10. dont make point 10 yet, if you dont have a point 10 (just to round it off)
Wow, thanks for this Jonathan. Deep insight. I've re-read the article with a critical eye from your post and you do make extremely valid points. Have noted the top facets to a good venture.
Thanks for sharing!