I’ve always been scared of doing something that would turn out to be useless – scared of wasting my time. In college, for instance, I was afraid to commit to any particular programming language out of fear that the choice might turn out to be wrong and that I wouldn’t find a job X years later. Now, as an entrepreneur, I am still too scared of investing in new products if I’m not 100% positive that it’s something people would use.
This sort of attitude has its positive and negative outcomes. The positive one is that, in the process, I got really good at marketing. Before we launch anything, I am (nearly) completely sure that the marketing approach we’ve prepared will result in more than enough eyeballs and attention.
The negative outcome is that I tend to hurry product development through and release a half-baked product too soon, which doesn’t work in the long run.
There have been numerous cases where I abandoned a project due to what I thought was lack of potential, only to, later on, realize that other companies have managed to build strong brands implementing the exact same ideas.
Luckily, I was able to surround myself with people who are way better at some things than I am. A team of editors that would never publish anything sub-par (even when I tell them to), developers who won’t write a line of code that’s below the standards, and product managers who won’t release anything that’s not a perfect match for the users.
The thing is, if you are a perfectionist, a product person who just wants to build the most beautiful solution possible, then let me assure you that there is nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with being the same kind of person, only on the marketing end of the spectrum – being obsessed to make the product sell no matter what. This sort of product-marketing “conflict” is perhaps precisely what’s needed to build a successful product.