We’re living in a world of beta tests and products that are released and then improved. How do you know when you’re done and it’s time to ship? Three entrepreneurs give their advice.
One of the hardest things for a start-up to decide is “When is my product done?” I’ve worked in many start-ups, and I am advising several start-ups now. Last week after my article about the Minimum Viable Concept, this issue came to a head at one company. The challenge of when to open the website or let the world through the door is a monster that many teams wrestle with. Paralysis by analysis can lead to missing a market opportunity. But, can you get another chance to make a first impression if your product is truly bad?
Adam Seifer, co-founder and former CEO of Fotolog.com, one of the oldest and most popular photo sharing sites on the net, said: “I frequently find myself trying to convince partners, advisees, etc., that one of the biggest risks a start-up has is to not launch anything at all—to get so caught up in talking about what you’re going to launch and so fixated on details that it feels like you’re making progress when instead what you’re really doing is moving asymptotically closer to something that doesn’t ultimately matter as much as you think it does.”
Some companies have truly embraced the world of continuous testing, also called “using your customers as test subjects.” Google’s Gmail was listed as a “beta” or test version for about five years. Apple’s “Siri” voice service is still considered a “beta” (and given that it works for me about half the time I’d say that is an accurate label.) But are these kind of tests for everyone?