At a recent Braintrust (a peer-advisory group) I was struggling with how to make time for a side project. I’d framed it as a time management issue in my head, but within 5 minutes of discussion, my Braintrust revealed it was really a matter of priorities and better aligning my side project to my bigger goals.
What’s the cost of collecting enough information to get it right the first time? What’s the cost of getting it wrong?
[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”180”] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the early days of Leancamp, every announcement, every email, every tweet was a reason for hestitation. I’d justify it as “measure twice, cut once” or “I’m just a perfectionist” but really, I was scared. Now, I’m more scared of ideas that get comfortably stuck in my head. They fester and weigh me down until I can finally let them breath by exposing them to customers.
A few friends of mine have found themselves building companies they didn’t want to work for. As the signals started pointing to customer groups they didn’t really love, progress started to slow. Tough, complicated decisions were a symptom. The root problem was that they were avoiding a bigger decision: do they abandon their sunken costs into their startups and accept that they weren’t happy? Eventually, they both jumped ship. The regrettable part is they could have jumped much sooner.
We’ve all experienced 20/20 hindsight. Why not use it to our advantage?
I just had a conversation with a friend who was trying to decide whether or not the call to action on his new homepage should be more functional or emotive, and this was holding him back. It seemed to me that bigger questions were unanswered - like how do people make this decision now? And this revealed that it was more important to just get any page out to learn if it worked. In the meantime, he could talk to a few customers to learn about their thought-process and come up with homepage variants to test based on that.
On that note, this blog post is great - time to ship it! :)
You can get better at decisions, just don’t use these as an excuse to procrastinate! Check out:
PS. Are you in London? I’m running a 40 quid, full-day workshop on the foundations of lean startup strategy with Rob Fitzpatrick. It’s this Saturday, September 1, at Central Working Bloomsbury, and you should come. It’s cheap because Capital Enterprise & Open Innovation are kindly picking up the bulk of the tab. Ping me if have any questions!