It is not good enough for things to be planned – they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation.”
– Walt Kelly
Alright, listen up. I’m going to tell you something freaky.
You know that thing you’re thinking about creating? Yeah, that thing. Someone, somewhere is thinking about creating the same thing.
It might not have the same quality or specifics as yours. Hell, it might not even be half as good as yours.
But what if it’s good enough?
We want to polish and perfect our product. That’s completely understandable. However, the bar is constantly being raised. That project you started on 5 years ago that’s still not finished? Had you finished it 2 years ago it might’ve passed the bar. By today’s standards? Probably not.
Imagine that the thing you’re creating is basically done. It performs its function and there’s a market for it but you feel like it could be even better.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the other guy is months from completion. Yet, if their product hits the market before yours it doesn’t matter if yours is objectively better. It’ll still come in second and you’ll need to work harder than if you’d just put the damned thing out when it was finished.
Even in art it’s all about capturing that moment and making it as good as possible with the time allotted. Sometimes we can learn a lot more if a customer walks out on us without buying. It can give us valuable data on the improvements we need to make.
In some markets it’s better to be an early adopter rather than being the very first because we can use that data to make our thing better. That’s a gamble though because there’s nothing that says that “good enough” is all that people need.
Do you remember how a couple of years back there was a flurry of songtitles that included a hashtag in the title?
It wasn’t like everybody jumped on someone else’s idea. Nobody was original, they more or less had the same idea around the same time and as a result so many songs ended up with it and it became a whole thing.
Will.I.Am feat. Justin Bieber – “#thatPOWER”
The Chainsmokers – “#Selfie”
Mariah Carey & Miguel – “#Beautiful”
Busta Rhymes feat. Nicki Minaj – “#TWERKIT”
Just to name a few.
On a side note, the best execution in my mind goes to “#Selfie” because they created a combination of hashtag, a cultural phenomena and an annoyingly catchy song.
That song could use the data from the previous ones and as a result knew how to use all the hooks and associations to make the mark all the other songs failed to make in the same way.
While I’m not an advocate for rushing your product to market you need to really take a hard look and decide if it’s actually good enough to make an impact. If someone else beats you to it try and learn as much as you can from it.
Have you had this happen? Have you sat on a great idea too long? What lessons did you learn from that and have you been successful with it since?
Let me know on Twitter or in the comments.
Have a fantastic & ₢eative day!