When I read this article praising Apple for delaying the release of its iPhone 4 until they got the product “right,” it reminded me of a similar point that came up at one of our meetings. Again, it was a product usability versus doing business disagreement.
Who Would Eat A Half-Baked Pie?
From a usability and perhaps a Steve Jobs-ian point of view, it’s important to be able to say “no” to a bad product or a product that’s just too half-baked. Much as we’d love to do that, from a startup-in-survival-mode point of view, it just doesn’t seem feasible. After all, we don’t quite have the staying power of Apple’s cult following, so better to have half a product rather than no product at all. I mean Microsoft has put out some of the most half-baked OS’s ever –Windows Me, Vista– and seems to be none the worse for wear. It’s really rather heartening how well people put up with poor products.
Indeed, entrepreneurship guru Steve Blanks advises startups to get your product out there sooner rather than later even if it’s just a bare bones version. This way, when you find out that no one wants or likes it, you can quickly change directions (i.e. pivot) before you’re so far down the product road that turning back would be like cutting out your liver.
On the other hand, you have wonder whether it’s going a bit far when a company is so desperate to get into the market that it will put out its Blackberry Playbooks (Research in Motion’s response to the iPad) without its own e-mail application. I suppose getting bad press is better than getting no press at all.
It’s All In The Timing
But getting back to the iPhone 4’s delayed release, the point Jason Hiner wants to make isn’t that you should wait until your product is perfect to push it out, but to know when your product is perfect enough to push out. Maybe another way to look at it is there’s never a perfect product, only perfect timing.
So for VSee right now, the rubber is to the road on getting out a Mac OS X (and iOS and Android) version out, and perhaps the question is whether August is the perfect time for its release? Are we too stuck to our product road map? Is it more critical to have a weaker earlier product or a later more robust product?
Anyways, if you’re interested in testing out our not-quite-baked Mac version, we’d love for you to try it. Just leave a message for us at VSee support.