Just Ship It.22 Oct 2012
«If you’re not embarrassed by your 1st version, you waited to long to release» - Reid Hoffman
It’s easy not to ship. You can be working all of your free time on a project and never show it to the world. In fact, you have all the reasons in the world not to ship: you just need to add this one feature, your design is still not as good as you want it to be, etc. The fact is that you shouldn’t be comfortable releasing your first version, your product will probably never be as good as you want it to be.
Not shipping is more often worst then actually shipping a mediocre but functional product. Why? Getting a product out there helps you get real feedback from real users, I am not talking about your best friend who said your app «was sick». I am talking about real users, ideally real customers. This feedback helps you understand your users and their needs, leading you to craft a better product faster. In the case you are building a Pacemaker, you might want to take your time planning out the project but in most cases, get it out there and fast.
But what will people think of me? The fact is most people won’t even bother really looking at what you built, seriously. The small amount of people who actually use your product are the one you need to focus on. They are the one who actually need what you built. Shipping is a state of mind. Determine the core feature of your project, build it and ship it. Repeat the process.
Just like programming, designing and copywriting, shipping a product is a skill by itself. Like any other skill, practice is key to success. So how do you practice shipping? Get involved in many short projects and ship them. You don’t even have to be passionate about the project, be passionate about the process of shipping.