November 4, 2008
I am a big proponent of launching a consumer web service, live in the wild, as soon as possible and then learning from how people actually use it. It is all too easy to get mired in product strategy and to try to get the product “just right” before putting it out there. But time and time again I see the best laid product plans totally dashed by what consumers actually do with it. There is no replacement for real live customer feedback; and because of this, you are always better off getting your product out in the wild early, and saving as much of your capital as possible for work that is informed by what actually works and doesn’t work.
Two of my portfolio companies are seeing this pan out in a big way. One launched several months ago and over the course of the last 8 weeks has seen emerge what we now see is the winning path to market. Another is just in the very early days of being live, and sure enough is learning lots of things that we never would have predicted standing in front of a whiteboard.