Perfection Is the Enemy of Adoption. Ship It Now.

Ship imperfect products now, gather user feedback, and iterate - perfection paralysis kills adoption


Chris Kernaghan

A rocket launching in the distance

The saying "perfect is the enemy of the good" is attributed to 18th century French philosopher Voltaire.

It cautions against holding out too long for the ideal or perfect solution, at the risk of never accomplishing anything satisfactory. Voltaire embodied a pragmatic worldview - preferring practical results over lofty but unrealistic ambitions of perfection.

Perhaps Voltaire would have made a great founder? I can imagine him wholeheartedly embracing the "ship it" mindset, even if the initial product wasn't perfect.

His famous quote aligns with the notion of launching a minimum viable product and iterating based on real user feedback, rather than getting bogged down chasing an idealistic, flawless solution from the outset.

Perfection is an unrealistic and counterproductive obsession. Rather than agonising endlessly over insignificant details, we'd be better served by embracing an iterative approach of continuous, incremental improvements.

Founders, especially those bootstrapping, should always strive for small, consistent progress will always outpace the mythical pursuit of flawlessness. Perfection halts progress.

The Perfection Trap: When Pursuit Becomes Paralysis

The allure of creating the ultimate, flawless product before launch is tantalising, but it's also a trap that can lead to years of delays and potential failure.

You've got to hand it to definitely human and not a lizard Mark Zuckerberg - whether you're a fan or not, he had a point with that whole "move fast and break stuff" mentality.

For some companies, it makes sense to get scrappy, ship early, and figure out the kinks as you go rather than getting bogged down chasing perfection from day one.

The reality is that no product will ever be truly "perfect" - there will always be room for improvement, new features to add, and issues to iron out.

And while it's important to put care and quality into your initial offering, agonising endlessly over minor details is a sure-fire way to get lapped by your competition and miss critical windows of opportunity.

So complete is better than perfect, and that means shipping incremental updates via MVP. By shipping an MVP (minimum viable product) as soon as it's reasonably ready, you unlock a world of benefits:

  1. Real user feedback: Until your product is in the hands of actual users, you're operating based on assumptions. Shipping early allows you to gather invaluable feedback to iterate and improve.
  2. Revenue generation: A product on the market (even an early version) can start generating cash flow to fund growth and further development. A perpetually delayed product makes $0.
  3. Market validation: Quickly getting your idea out there allows you to gauge real demand and viability. If it's a dud, you can cut losses and pivot.
  4. Marketing momentum: Having a real, usable product makes it exponentially easier to attract attention, users, and buzz versus vacant promises.

Balance is Key

Of course, the key is to find the right balance.

You don't want to ship something embarrassingly broken or barebones. But once you hit the "minimum" threshold of creating real value for users, it's time to take the leap and start the evolution process.

And if you find yourself short on resources or expertise to get things across the finish line, don't be afraid to ask for help!

Whether it's developers, marketers, or advisors with been-there-done-that experience, having the proper support can be the difference between launching on time or staying stuck in "perfection purgatory."

The software world is brutally Darwinian - only the fastest, most adaptive players survive. Don't let perfectionism hold you back. Ship that MVP, get real data, and start evolving your way to incredible products and success.

About The Author

A rocket launching in the distance
Chris Kernaghan

By day, Chris works as a UX Designer, crafting easy-to-use interfaces and ensuring companies focus on what users need. At night, he runs We Are Founders, a platform where founders share inspirational journeys.


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