When I checked my mail today, I eagerly tore off the plastic wrap of this month’s edition of Wired magazine and flipped open to find myself staring at the start of an article entitled “The Good Enuf Rvlutn” about how cheap and simple beats perfect almost every time.
I’m always surprised when I meet a fellow entrepreneur who’s working on a fantastic new product that could be on the market today, but has instead spent the past 3 years – and plans to spend the next 2 years – getting it “just right.”
The Despair poster for Quality sums it up best:
“The Race for Quality Has No Finish Line – so Technically It’s More Like a Death March.”
When creating new products – and please keep in mind I’m not talking about implantable medical devices, surgical instruments, avionics, or bear spray – it’s better to get your product to market and tweak as you go than spend years in development.
In fact, if you look at most successful authors, they’re cranking out books on a regular basis, not taking decades to write the “one” book. If you look at some of the most successful figures in information marketing, their content is top notch, but the details could use some work.
Does that get in their way? Is a typo, pagination error, ugly layout, angled photocopies, or a cover that could have been better designed by a preschooler with a dull pencil going to impact the usefulness of the information contained within the product or course?
Of course not. One thing is for sure, however: the product got to market, started selling and started making money far before the perfectionists ever finished creating their outline.
Want to know the best part? Some of your customers are perfectionists and will be more than happy to let you know about every typo and mistake. Who says you need to hire an editor when your editors are willing to pay you?
Implementation and Speed
Business is a game of implementation and speed. Better to get it done and have it done, then plan and plan and plan and… never get anything accomplished, launched or sold.
The article in Wired refers specifically to how in 2001 a whopping 181 million shoddy – but cheap, imperfect and easy to use – disposible camers were sold compared with around 7 million digital cameras.
Amazon’s Kindle can’t display complex grahics, is black and white, doesn’t have the same selection as a book store, and has low resolution, but Barron’s estimates that sales could reach $2 billion by 2012.
Netbooks, are little more than “crappy toys” with no storage, processing power or graphics capability to speak of. They are cheap, small and light and you can connect to the web easily, which is why Netbook shipments were up sevenfold in the first quarter of 2009.
These aren’t examples of better mousetraps. They’re examples of “good enough” mouse traps that made it to market and are selling and out performing the never-released or released-to-late perfect models.
Here’s the question to ask yourself:
Are you wasting your time getting it “just right” and “perfect” or are you getting your product to market and making money while you work on version 2.0?
I hope for your sake – and for your bank account – that it’s the later.