Is there a secret formula high-performing entrepreneurs use to scale quickly? Serial entrepreneur Reid Hoffman is attempting to crack the code in the new podcast Masters of Scale. It's a fascinating weekly conversation with successful founders.
The latest Masters of Scale episode features Mark Zuckerberg and perfectly captures a key secret to his Facebook leadership as well as Hoffman's PayPal and LinkedIn success:
I do believe that if you're not embarrassed by your first product release, you've released it too late.
It's a simple adage that Zuckerberg himself has said ("Move fast and break stuff."). Hoffman is talking about the Lean Startup model, where you want to get it out to your intended audience as soon as possible. Besides, to paraphrase Hoffman in the podcast, you can't make your product "perfect" if you don't even know what your audience needs - and the best way to do that is to get out of your head and to get it out to the public. And it's OK to be a little embarrassed about your product since it isn't ideal.
However, this strategy would seem less important if it weren't repeated over and over by nearly all the thought leaders I've interviewed or heard:
Done is better than perfect
It comes down to faith and sweat... It's like the balance between making something happen and letting something happen.
You can't go from standstill to motion and still catch the wave. It is about moving now and trusting that the wave will form to carry you forward.
Waiting for perfection isn't just stupid, but it could be fatal. My little app, So Quotable, and my little-turned-big app, Cuddlr, both launched as minimal viable products weeks before competitors (and, in some cases, clones) nipped at their heels. Indeed, with Cuddlr, me and my co-founders already had a gameplan to do a serious update with the features we ideally wanted to launch with - but the limited version gathered 100,000 users within the first week. Better yet, those users could tell us what features to actually add in the next version rather than us assuming what they needed. All that feedback helped us grow to even more users and, within a year, get acquired.
There is a simple reason why Hoffman led both PayPal and LinkedIn to successful exits and Zuckerberg pushed Facebook to its current heights: They got started and they got product out the door. You should be doing the same.