The price of being too obsessed with your idea is progress.
The entrepreneur turned Lean Startup pioneer Eric Ries had some hard hitting advice for startups in 2011: Ideas are over-rated.
7 years later, it still rings true.
Most startup ideas linger in limbo and never see the light due to the bane of being the founders’ precious little babies. Founders who obsess over their creation while it’s still only in their hands are missing a major key 🔑. Coming up with an idea is not the important ingredient of the start-up. Shipping your idea is.
Anybody can come up with an idea. In fact, as we are speaking, somebody already is working on your idea in a different part of the world. The only way to beat them to time is by simply outworking them and bringing your idea to market faster.
Doing The Action That Matters
You don’t get called a startup just because you have a startup idea or because you are *still* building it. A startup that never executed and shipped really didn’t start, it was just an illusion.
Instead, get your hands dirty and do the work that matters swiftly. Being in this “Do” mindset forces you to make important decisions. There’s got to be no time for procrastination or even tinkering for too long.
Another major advantage if you are constantly in “Do” mode is how you can effectively diffuse your distractions. Sorry social, no time for you.
The Artist vs The Real Artist
Agreed there is so much joy and bliss in ideation. You can sit there and keep refining something for hours. Don’t get trapped in the bliss of the creative process. Push for progress.
When you concentrate and aim to ship your idea, you naturally bring your forces together and work harder. The emotional labor required to get something out the door involves the risk of public embarrassment and failure. That emotional labor is invaluable for success.
“One key element of a successful artist: ship. Get it out the door. Make things happen. The other: fail. Fail often. Dream big and don’t make it. Not every time, anyway.” — Seth Godin
Setting a Ship Deadline
Last but not the least, set specific deadlines and stick to them as a team. In software, there is a concept of time-boxing where you’ll decide to work for 1 full sprint (like a week or 2) on an agreed scope and ruthlessly move to the next if you go past the deadline. It is a terrific technique to learn how to prioritize tasks in any given week.
Remember, despite all this you are never perfectly ready to launch. There will be bugs. There will be some shitty areas in your product. But that’s OK. Done>Perfect.
Shipping needs dogged tenacity and daring guts. It also feels boring and elemental for a large while before it gets closer to the finish line.
Seth Godin has been blogging daily since the dawn of time (at least since we know the word “blogger” in popular parlance) As an artist, sometimes his work is stunning but other times it is elemental. Yet he ships. Every single day.
Your startup journey is just like that. There is tremendous power in working on your idea with a single minded focus on SHIPPING it — bravely to the customers’ hands and facing the outcome.
Dip your head in doing the work and just ship it.
At ClosingPage, we got a taste of this ship mentality heads down for 5 weeks including the Christmas break and built our major public release. Get a glimpse of our product for free here.