Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oy vey.

This is about startups, but it strikes home:

Startup Disease 8: The Perfection Hallucination

All good product designers are perfectionists. The right kind of
graphic designer feels physically sick when the font is misaligned by
one pixel. The right kind of programmer will refactor the code even
when it’s working fine, because it’s just not right. However, if you
want to deliver a product of which you’re completely satisfied, then
perfection must be balanced with a good dose of pragmatism. Otherwise
you risk never launching your product at all.

This disease often hits later in the product development cycle, when
you’ve already built a startup that people have liked. The expectations
have been set, so you feel that every subsequent update must be perfect.


  • You plan to spend two months on a new feature before showing it to users.
  • Even though the basic functionality is there, you’re afraid that the new feature is going to fail if you release it now.
  • You’ve built a lot of new stuff recently, but none of it has been released to users because it’s not quite ready yet.


Users are more forgiving of progress in the wrong direction than of
a lack of progress. What you’ve built will never be perfect, but if
it’s close enough your users will tell you how to improve it. However,
they can only do that once they see the new changes and features.
Release early, release often. The only way to learn from your mistakes
is to accept that you will make them.

I hate it when people write about me. When they do it so openly. It doesn't matter that I'm not named, that the author doesn't know me and has never heard of me, and that I am not working on a startup. Somehow, they still do it.

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