8. How soon should you launch?

This week we just launched a new product at GoSquared: Lead Forms. Launches are always exciting but how do you know when it’s too soon (or too late) to launch?

Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode eight of lost and founder. Today I wanted to talk about one topic and one topic only, and that is launching things. And it's highly relevant because at GoSquared we just launched a new, a new product. And it's all very exciting, but I, I guess I, I didn't want to spend the whole episode talking to you about.
The product itself or all of the wonderful features and benefits of it. If you want to learn more about that, you can go to the GoSquared website, but really what I wanted to talk about in the show today was about the process of, of launching things, releasing things, working to deadlines and and all of the fun involved in that.
So if that sounds good, keep on listening and we'll dive right in.
I actually wrote a blog post a while ago. Shortly after having some friends over for an evening at my house. And I likened inviting friends over to launching a product and on reflection, I think that still holds, holds quite true. I think when, when you think about it, Inviting people over. What if you're anything like me?
If I ever invite friends over often as a friend, Mad dash to tidy the house, to get things looking respectable, to clean various surfaces and to hide all the clutter and chaos that often builds up in, in normal daily life. And I think in many ways that is very similar to what it's like when you ship or release a new feature or a new part.
Or even the first version of it, a company on the web. And when you think about it, a lot of it is about getting clear on a deadline when your friends are coming over or when you're going to release your new feature or a new product and focusing on what's most important like when your friends come over.
Not necessarily important to tie the, the spare room or make sure your study is pristine. Often the priority is to make sure your kitchen, your hallway, your lounge is clean. And, and I think in, in many ways, when you're, when you're working towards releasing a feature or a product, you, you need to make those, those tough calls, those priorities.
Of what do we actually need to get ready for the launch and what, what can, wait, what can be done later and often the danger of not setting a deadline or a plan to launch something is that you can Bumble along for quite a long time, without a clear goal of releasing something and often putting off a lot of those tough decisions.
And so a lot, yeah. Really good teams talking mainly in software context. Now a lot of really good teams or have a focus on launching things on a very regular schedule. And I think in many ways, that's like, I think a regular schedule of inviting friends over you have a regular cadence where you continuously keep your house tidy, or you continuously keep your product focused on.
Being in front of customers, you continually focused the team around talking about that value to customers. And those are incredibly valuable habits and disciplines to, to have a, been a team. If you spend ages working on things behind the scenes and not getting it out in front of customers, that's often where a lot of people go wrong.
I know it's where we've gone wrong in the past. If you spend weeks months, Working on a new feature or a new product without getting it in front of a real users and real customers. You can risk a lot of things. You can risk building the wrong stuff. You can risk getting the messaging totally off. You can risk morale issues on the team as well.
When the team. Working their socks off on a new feature or a new product. And there's no sign of when it's going to get over the line and get out there. It can feel very demotivating. And so every time you get something out the door and in front of people, it's an opportunity for feedback and it's an opportunity to learn, to iterate, to get insights.
And it's an opportunity also to celebrate. It's often a really valuable. Morale booster to get things out the door and, and to, to find the right line of when to get it out and when to, when to hold back
Of course one of the really the hard things about shipping and launching things is that things are rarely clearly done. If you're on a thing like me and the team, yeah. You're very squared. You often want to strive for a really great outcome, a really great finished product or feature and. That often massively conflicts with getting something out the door at a certain time and every team and every person involved in releasing products and building companies are that I've ever spoken to has always struggled with that dilemma, that balance of perfection or improvement and the balance.
Yeah. Something being done and shipped and for every team and every person, every individual it's, it's a different balance and can be a different set of trade-offs. And I think one of the things in a, in a team environment is to try to get clearly aligned on those two and ideally build a culture that, that values both and balances both.
For us, that often means. Having clear goals of what, of, what the product or feature should do of what the benefits need to be for the customer, trying to define those sorts of outcomes as early as possible in the project. And also trying to define clear we use and things that matter to you and your team.
If you can get aligned on those, then it can often make it much easier to. Transition through and trends diverse, I guess is the word I'm looking for. The various Rocky rough patch that you might go through, especially when you're working to a tight deadline and trying to try to progress as fast as you possibly can.
There's nothing like a deadline to raise tensions and cause temperatures to, to heat up a little bit. But at the end of the day, speed is, is a critical factor for any company, any startup for anyone individually as well. You, you cannot buy more time on this planet and trying to make sure that you, you factor in speed and decision-making, and and getting things out the door is, is a really important aspect.
So often we find ourselves making trade-offs to get things out the door to move faster. And that's sometimes a really good opportunity for startups to embrace for smaller teams to embrace. You can always move faster than the huge. Of heavily funded companies out there. If you work together as a small, close knit, well aligned team.
And and yeah, I, I think, I think that's always a fine balance there. And if you're struggling with these kinds of dilemmas yourself, then, then you're not alone on trying to figure them out. Because no, one's right at the end of the day you're trying to make difficult calls and trying to work together to, to put something new into the world and anyone who's ever done that knows it's not easy and it's fraught with challenges.
But I think at the end of the day, it's really important that you. To try to focus on getting things out the door, because every time you do that you learn, and this is where a lot of the there's a philosophy called, like the lean startup. And I believe it's where the term minimum viable product came from, which is often used it's banded around dangerously, I think in my opinion at times.
But. There's a whole philosophy that is very much around shipping and releasing things early, ideally before they're really ready and getting real feedback from people and iterating quickly. And, and that's something that, that most companies, especially working on the web can truly embrace because the web enables people to.
To iterate quickly that it reduces the cost of scent of, of putting news things in customer's hands. Now, if you think about running something like an e-commerce business, where you send products to customers, you don't get many chances to do that. And to do that and test it, whereas in software and building a tech company, you can.
Put new value in customer's hand very quickly. The cost of delivering new features to customers is very low once you've built the thing. And so that can enable you to move quickly and to, to put things in front of people quicker and test and iterate and, and sometimes remove as well. And, and that's something certainly to try to, to embrace, I think Okay.
Now final point on this, I think whatever you choose to do, you're almost always going to either release something too early before it's fully baked, or you're going to release something too late and miss an opportunity, whether that's in the market or move your customers. And you've always got to try and figure out the right side of that, to be honest.
Often, I think optimizing for speed is a good way to alleviate a lot of concerns and to learn from the actual market sooner. And that can often be the difference between life and death for a company, at least. So I think that's pretty much the collective. I don't know if I'd call it wisdom, but the collective sort of amount of stuff I was thinking of.
Sharing today. And I think maybe one of the final things I could leave on is a quote from one of my heroes, Steve jobs. And I think he said, great artists ship and I kind of can't help, but agree with that. It's all well and good being, doing amazing work and working our socks off and being really proud of what you've done.
But. If you don't get that work out the door and in the hands of the people who need it or who can use it or who can buy it from you, then, then it's a big waste of time. So focus on shifting, focus on releasing, focus on getting things out the door, and a lot of other stuff will follow. Okay. I hope that's helpful.
There we have it. That's another episode of lost and found it in the bag for this week. Thanks for tuning in. And yeah, if you do have a website, if you do have an online business and you do need. Forms, which I assume you will. Please do go check out the new release. We've done it. GoSquared. I hope you'll find it valuable and interesting.
And maybe you can make up your own mind as to whether we released too early or too late. Or if by chance we got it just right. I'll leave you to decide, and I hope you, I hope you like it. And I really appreciate all the feedback I keep getting from you on the show. And I'm going to keep on doing this and trying to make sure it's as helpful as possible for people.
Thanks again for tuning in and I will catch you next time. See you soon.