Just ship it, dreaming will not pay the bills

Charcoal and Red Planet Science Fiction Book Cover.jpg

How many times do you find yourself working on the next product and asking  “is it ready to ship, or should I continue improving “.

In some cases you have a customer deadline that pushes you to deliver what you have but what happens when you don’t have a customer deadline and all you have is your own schedules.

Earlier in my career I would find myself constantly iterating to make a product better, days and weeks would go by and I would continue wanting to add more, constantly changing it to make it better. I call this the dreamer phase, this is when you dream, you envision and keep thinking of ideas. Ideas are great but the ultimate goal of any product or idea is for it to become reality.

The dreamer phase is a happy no stress place but it wont feed you or pay your bills. You need to spend as little time as you can dreaming and you need to move directly to the execution phase, this is where the magic happens, build, make it, show it, get reviews you need  get it out on the hands of the users.

I was invited to a conference to showcase my products, with a weeks notice. I really needed to come up with a new product. I worked long hours and made a prototype for a product that at first eye seemed 80% complete but in my mind it would at least show others that I had some other products.

The day of the show came I had made fancy stands  for my primary product and I placed the new prototype on a side table. As the show opened people would just flock to the new prototype, enough that mid day I decided to swap my old product for the new prototype and showcased that instead.

What is the take away?

You don’t know what you have until you show it to others. 

What should you do then?

  1. Have a deadline, make it a crazy deadline as this will push you.
  2. Go through the dream phase but spend 10% or less of you time on this phase.
  3. Move to execution phase, make it, show it, get feed back.
  4. Ship your product. Yes it not perfect but you need to get it out.
  5. Improve it as needed.

Now I find myself pushing hard to release the product, yes it may not be perfect or may not be 100% complete but if you don’t release it you will never know.






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