A common problem for start-ups is balancing a timely product launch with creating the perfect product. Personally, product-storming with our start-up partners is my favorite part of Dashfire (excluding a company selling for millions of dollars, of course). But, while the conversations can be enjoyable, the ideating can quickly become interminable and detrimental. Our mutual goal should be to decide on product set, launch quickly, generate feedback, iterate, relaunch, etc. The go-to-market and building a perfect product relationship reminds me of a presentation I attended during my Clinton Fellowship in India.
The speaker was a leading social entrepreneur who was presenting on disaster relief programs. She referenced the Tsunami in 2004 that crippled much of South Asia and said, “In humanitarian work, the more time you spend assessing the issue, the fewer lives you save.” See the chart below:
She added that the governments that reacted swiftly but prudently had the greatest impact on lives saved, even though they did not always have a full understanding of the situation. Those parties that invested in the perfect rescue plan often arrived to unsalvageable situations. They came too late. She was not advocating reckless action; she was promoting the need to react to the urgency of the disaster, crisis, or challenge.
I see a parallel between the inverse relationship of the accuracy of a disaster relief program and lives saved to speed-to-market and value-added features (i.e., what a customer is willing to engage with). Start-ups should not ignore the urgency of the moment. If your product is in fact addressing a challenge, do not let the moment pass you by. The application may not be issue-free and full featured, but by engaging with your customer early and often, you will increase the likelihood of making an impact while the window of opportunity is open.