Ship today

February 13, 2019 (4y ago)

Be honest. How long did it take to ship your last feature?

More bluntly -- how long did it take to help your customer do something they couldn’t do before.

That’s it. The one thing we can do that will make customers use our product, pay us to do so, and tell their friends about it is to help them make progress in their life.

The problem with taking weeks or even months to ship something new is opportunity cost. The opportunity cost of time spent:

Building vs discovering new ways to bridge the gap between customers’ pain points and achieving their goals.

Building something perfect and polished vs shipping a smaller and scrappier version that could have resulted in the same outcome for the customer.

Building and testing internally vs learning how and where to iterate from the people paying to use your product.

What if, before we ever opened our code editor, we asked a different question.

What can we ship today that enables an outcome our customers want?

Focusing on what you can ship in a day may seem limiting if you want to build a big business, but the insights you’ll gain by shortening your customer feedback loop will help you iterate faster and ensure you build a better product.

Here are some ideas to get you shipping successful outcomes today:

Leverage existing tools. Even if you have a team of engineers, it’s possible and often faster to create incredible value for customers without writing a single line of code.

Build a tiny feature. Sometimes there will be a small, self-contained feature that can be shipped quickly and make an immediate impact for customers.

Write a knowledge base article. Not everything you ship to help customers succeed needs to be a feature. You could help customers get more value from your existing product by showing them how to unlock value with clever hacks and workarounds.

What you ship today doesn’t have to be perfect, you can always iterate on it tomorrow. Start small, help customers make progress and learn from what you ship.