Nothing Matters Until You Launch

On April 14th, 2015, a Falcon 9 Rocket from Space X crashed on the landing pad. It landed, but then tipped over shortly after landing. The problem was attributed to excess lateral velocity upon landing. The estimated cost of the flight was between $57–$64 Million.

https://www.cnet.com/pictures/amazon-fire-phone-pictures/

On June 18th, 2014, Amazon announced its plans to venture into the smartphone industry with its flagship, ‘Firephone’. The phone was released on July 25th, 2014, with many exciting features, such as its visual scanning app, Firefly, which pretty much worked like Google Lens/Audio Search, Shazam, etc. Despite the high expectations from Amazon and the great features built into the phone, the project failed and was discontinued only a year later on August 27th, 2015 due to multiple factors, including poor reception from the market. This project reportedly cost Amazon $170 million.

https://www.failory.com/google/buzz

On February 9th, 2010, Google launched ‘Google Buzz’, which was meant to rival the likes of Twitter. Google Buzz was integrated into Gmail, and users could share a variety of content with their friends/followers. On October 14th, 2011, the service was discontinued. Google did try to revive it on December 15th, 2011, with a new name, Google+, but we know how that also ended. Despite lasting longer than its predecessors, Google+ was discontinued on April 2nd, 2019.

What Do These Stories Have in Common?

Am I sharing these stories simply to highlight the failures of these companies? Of course not. My point is this; until you launch your product, you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA whether it’ll be successful or not. You don’t know how the market will receive it, you don’t know what may go wrong, you don’t even know what you don’t know. Here are some facts:

  1. The 3 aforementioned companies have an inordinate amount of resources to carry out preliminary research, which we can only assume they did prior to launching their individual products that unfortunately failed.
  2. These companies have some of the smartest people working on these products.
  3. These companies have very valuable data to help make wise product decisions. They know some of you more than you know yourselves. With data of that quality, they should automatically know what you want.

Despite the facts, these companies have launched products that failed. Do you think Amazon would’ve proceeded with launching the Firephone if they knew it would cost them $170 Million? Of course not. To reiterate my point, you have no idea what’s going to work until you launch.

I personally used to hide behind documentation to avoid launching a product; I wanted to get the Product Strategy right, or the Market Research, or User Interviews, etc. What I have come to understand over the years is this; nothing matters until launch.

You can carry out research for aeons, and the product still fails. Unless you have divine instructions like Noah, who was tasked with building a product that had never been built before for a season that had never come before, then you shouldn’t waste time with extensive “research”, which is, sometimes, another word for ‘procrastination’.

I must clarify that this applies mostly to software products, as hardware is a bit harder to get scrappy on, however, the principles remain valid across the board. Many things don’t matter until you launch, unless of course, there is divine intervention in your planning.

So, What Matters?

In my personal opinion, there are only 3 main things you should know before you launch:

  1. What Your Product Is (What Are You Selling?)
  2. Who You’re Selling To
  3. How You’re Selling It

Besides these 3 things, there isn’t a lot you need to know. If I was developing a new digital product for nursing mothers, here’s how I’d answer these questions:

  1. What is the Product? — A social network platform
  2. Who is it for? — Nursing mothers
  3. How will it be sold? — Social media marketing

That’s all. Until I launch this product, everything else I come up with is merely speculation.

Conclusion

If you were given two glasses, one filled with sparkling water and the other filled with sprite, you may spend time studying the density of the liquid, the bubbles, etc, but you’ll never be sure what drink is in what glass until you actually taste it.

Don’t waste time procrastinating. Just launch. Everything you need to know will be found out when you launch.

Selah

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Nosa Igbinedion

Nosa Igbinedion

Chief Steward at Olubrain Technologies