If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn
Let me say something about this well-worn quote that is perhaps not immediately evident. It’s about when you feel that sense of embarrassment. Previously I’ve nodded my head to this quote thinking about something I worked on, with the benefit of hindsight. But I don’t think that’s what Reid is getting at here. In hindsight, every first version is embarrassing. But what I think Reid really meant is that at the point of launch, you should be feeling embarrassed.
And that has been a helluva hard thing for us to do, because:
We know what we set out to build, and what we are going to build. We know what we’ve had to pull back for now. We know the hard decisions that we’ve made to get something live sooner rather than later.
We know the countless hours spent playing with the prototypes, sweating the details, grinding through the “gotchas”. We know the unhappy compromises you’ve made, and the reasons why — some complex and nested, others as simple as running out of time.
We know the dozen feature changes and design alterations that arose from things we couldn’t have planned for.
And yet we also know that when you get your hands on Sanlam Indie — none of that will matter, because you won’t know any of that.
What you will know immediately is if our idea, our product has a place in your lives, if it solves a genuine problem for you. Or if it’s just more clutter. And that’s why we launch as soon as we can. Because our roadmap counts for nothing if our product doesn’t resonate with you.
Not our Ideas, But yours.
At Sanlam Indie, once we knew what we wanted to build, and had the financial products (in this case Life Insurance) we gave ourselves about 3 months to build a first version. Being an Insurance Product that was a positively insane timeline. But we did it.
And we are kind of embarrassed by what’s there right now because we know we have much bigger plans to build an affordable easy to understand insurance product that creates wealth for people. But at the same time many of the new features we are introducing in the coming weeks are a direct result of customer feedback that came about directly as a result of launching early. Some of these features we had already been discussing, but a few of them are quite literally not our ideas, but yours.
And that’s why we’ll continue to launch new things that are a little rough around the edges — because we know you have a lot of ideas about how insurance can be better, and we want to build that product for you, with you.
Life Insurance made awesome.
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