Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Release an Embarrasing Product


"If You're Not Embarrassed By The First Version Of Your Product, You’ve Launched Too Late" - Reid Hoffman

Well.. at least I don't have this problem. Not since I started doing the 12 projects in 12 months challenge which almost guarantees that the product will not be full featured.

One of my projects, ShareMyWorkout.today , was supposed to be a Progressive Web App that works on all devices. Except, I don't have an iPhone so I neglected to test on Safari. "If it works on Chrome it should work on Safari right?" Sure I thought and hit the launch button on Product Hunt anyway.

With no prior marketing and no name for myself it actually did better than I expected with the up votes (although this isn't usually a very good indicator of product market fit).

When I finally had a friend test it on his iPhone (yes, I launched without testing this), I was quite embarrassed.

But now that I think back on it. Maybe it was perfect. I'm kind of glad that I launched as soon as possible and didn't spend too much time getting it to work in every case. If people actually wanted it then I'd probably still see some Android users using it. Or maybe I'd get an email saying "hey, I'd really like to use this product can you please put more work into it?". You think I'm kidding that someone would actually write this but that's the feedback that I got on my current project.

It was good enough to solve my basic needs (I still use it to track my workouts as an alternative to Google sheets which sluggish terrible on mobile). Although would be nice to have my friend on board. I told him I'd fix it eventually but decided it wasn't worth the effort for now.

That's how it goes with product market fit. People are usually willing to tolerate many issues with the product as long as it solves their problem. Think about Twitter in its early days when it was "fail whaling" all the time. But it didn't lose any users because people needed it, people loved it anyway.