Lessons From a month old startup : Perfect product is a myth

We have finally launched. MyPriceIndia is live with comparison of mobiles, cameras and laptop prices. It took us more than the expected time and this still looks like a bare bone launch. An alpha version we would say. It’s been 1 month since the site went live and we are still struggling with Data, SEO, UI and everything else. All this when we have only a product and no company or employees to worry about. What we realized after weeks of launch is that it was good that we did not wait for a perfect product before we launch. The perfect product would have never happened. In fact, even the right path would have never be chosen without launching. It’s like learning how to drive, you get better only when you hit the real roads. Thinking of your speed and turns when practicing in an open ground is worthless, as that is not where you are suppose to drive. You need to take your product to the roads and then work towards perfection.

Everything that people ever said about minimal viable product and iterations were all true. Now that the product is live we know more things that need to be fixed and things where we completely went wrong. Good that it’s happening early. Launch and fix is the only way out for startups, a perfect product is a myth and is never launched. Though, we are still scared of getting this product reviewed by bloggers or sharing with our friends as we think this won’t get us the best reviews. Not sure if this is the right approach but we will wait for version 2 before we start marketing.

A lot has happened since we decided to do this price comparison engine, which we earlier thought of starting as a quick-money-content-farm. But now it seems the game needs to be played more seriously. We have discovered more competitors than we had initially listed, including some giant ones. Existing competitors are raising some serious funds. We denied a decent funding offer as it seemed too early for too little. We realized that there are a lot of other stuff we want to do. Heck! we even thought of abandoning this product as someone told us this a very fragmented market with narrow growth.

Then it all boils down to your gut feel and focus. Everyone who advised you was right but then they were right according what they have already seen. None of them were psychic forecasters. Even if they were, forecasting has rarely worked for internet startups. Who knew people will get excited about 140chars of random updates. Also, we realized that when the been-there-done-that people advise you, they judge you on their levels; on the lines of the risk appetite that they have and the upsides that are big on their scale. They put you in their shoes instead of the other way around.

Now what?

We have realized that this is not the version we wanted to build. Rather, this is not the version that we will survive with in the market. So, while we fine tune our backend processes, the new version is being worked on; with better user experience and more scalable design. We haven’t yet worked on fine tuning from a revenue PoV. May be that is for version 3.0, or 2.1, if you will.

We are not abandoning this any time soon.

Quick Take Away:
1. Never wait for the perfect product. Start shipping. It’s easier for startups that don’t ask for upfront money/commitment from users.
2. Don’t get scared of the market. Nothing is as bad as it seems at first.
3. Don’t get too happy about investors knocking on the door. No one is giving you free money. They are doing their job, you do yours – build the product.
4. Listen to everyone but be clear of their intention. Decide for yourself.

Drop us a comment if you like.

[Reproduced from MyPriceIndia blog.]

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