Posted by: T.D. Inoue | May 18, 2011

Enough is Enough

As an entrepreneur with limited resources, I’m constantly forced to evaluate whether we’re doing the right things as opposed to just doing things right.  Mark Suster wrote about this in his blog, in this article. He reminds us about how so many people get stuck in a rut trying to do things right without proper consideration for whether they’re solving the right problem. He finishes his post with:

As management your job is to make sure that everybody understands how their initiatives tie into the overall company strategy.  Do the hard work and try to define your companies objectives and get them on paper.

It’s some of the best advice I’ve read, and I force myself to go back and do this on a regular basis. Even so, I find it difficult to carry out.

We’re currently working towards our main site’s first release. Without this, we have nothing to show – we’re just a concept. Plus, we’re not getting any user feedback, so we have no idea if we’re doing the right thing. Getting the website out the door is the company’s top priority.

I’m getting impatient. It seems like forever since we started and we get bogged down trying to perfect things – tweaking graphics, getting every word just right, making sure our code is just right. But are we working on the right things?

Our company is cursed with experience – most of us our older and have had been through multiple businesses We’ve seen the mistakes made by rushing products out the door. We’ve suffered with the consequences of bad architecture and poor implementation. So we’re trying to do a really good job. Too good a job.

What should we be doing? The problem is, until we get something out the door and gett user feedback, we don’t have much more than a hunch. We think we’ve got a great product but we simply won’t know until it’s launched. This is why I think young, inexperienced entrepreneurs do better in the internet era. They’re impatient – they throw ideas into the wild and get valuable business insights. They might iterate 20 times before we get our first version out the door. Sure, they’re first version probably sucks, but they’re learning from it. Meanwhile, we’re drinking our own Cool-aid, trying to craft the perfect product when we really should be focused on launching and learning if anybody wants what we’re spending so much time crafting.

How do you tell experienced professionals to do a crappy job? “Guys – put a shitty product out, ok? I need to get a read on our market response” Forget it! It’s not happening.

But there is a point where you have to say “enough is enough” – no matter what you do, it’s not going to be perfect and you might have just wasted 6 months perfecting the wrong thing.

So my difficult task now is leading the team through this. Our goal is not perfection. Our goal is getting a decent product out the door so we can get feedback and improve it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Enough is enough.

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