Launching over and over again

There’s a huge difference between shipping a product, soft launching, and launching. And there’s no rule that says you can only launch once.

It took a fair amount of effort for me to divorce these ideas in my own mind. The novice mindset of “if you build it, they will come” is still one of those pervasive attitudes that prevents us from being successful. And yet as developers it’s so natural to labor over our project and then, upon shipping it, think to ourselves “I’m finally done!”

I love the soft launch. It’s like a waypoint between shipping and launching. It helps me get out of my engineering mindset. Soft launching reminds me: “your code still has a ton of undiscovered bugs”. Soft launching shows me code paths I didn’t anticipate.

Showing my project to an audience for the first time is that precious moment when your labor of love meets the ruthlessness of the market. It is a glorious thing to behold.

And then, days or weeks later, the launch. Whether you’re posting on Product Hunt or you’re unleashing a press embargo, launching is an event. It’s an investment, it usually takes planning and coordination, and it is often a chance to rally the team’s morale around the fact that “we did it!”.

And what happens when the launch doesn’t go as expected? Will your brand be forever tarnished? Will your audience conclude that you’re a clown and not want to buy your products?

Unless you’re a Fortune 500, probably not. And in fact, you should just launch again.

Sometimes it feels strange to launch a product more than once. We think our audience will get tired of hearing about us. We anticipate that they’ll be confused: “wait, didn’t this already launch?” We worry that we’ll seem desperate. And so on.

But we need to remember that the world is absolutely gargantuan. There are so many people that still haven’t even heard about you. So even though your message is new to some people, for the vast majority of prospective customers, you are brand new.

Every time you launch, even the same messaging and feature set, there are people who are hearing about you for the first time. That first impression.

Go launch!

The emergent human organism

I think about this video a lot.

In summary: life on earth is really the history of exponential change. There were a few distinct periods in the history of life on earth where exponential change happened:

  1. The initial evolution of single cell organisms
  2. The evolution of multicellular life
  3. What we’re experiencing now in our society

He thinks through some attributes of the first two in an attempt to understand what the hell is happening to our society today. And remember, this was in 1994!

Mostly the changes are attributed to an information exchange mechanism. DNA evolved (somehow!) because it was a way for individual elements to exchange information and record that new recipe for the individual (in DNA). Cellular life was the result. Once this happened, a billion years of exponential evolution occurred.

Then it happened again, when these individual cells (somehow!) evolved the ability to exchange information and record the recipe for the community of individuals rather than just the individual cells. Essentially multi-cellular organisms comprised of cells that were symbiotic and became complex life such as ourselves. Another billion years of evolution and proliferation of these new “individuals”.

But the individuals were really just a part of the larger organism. Nobody really thinks of the cells in our bodies as individuals.

His argument is that, due to the internet and modern communications technology, we’re currently undergoing another period of exponential change, chiefly due to the increase in speed and fidelity (“bandwidth”) of information exchange between the individuals (us humans).

It does certainly appear that modern society is being ripped apart by social media. It’s very difficult for me not to think about this video and Danny’s argument when we think about Twitter and FB and how it’s affected our politics, our culture, our relationships with each other, and so on. We text each other, tweet our thoughts and hot takes to events in our curated social media timelines, and digitally post curations of our lives in the form of photos and videos.

Software has already eaten the world. And it’s turning us into a new type of “community”.

As individual people we’re invested in how we live or die as a cell in this new hyper cellular organism. Reasonably. It’s very tough to try and discern what this new organism looks like, or how it behaves.

What an interesting time to be alive.

Instant Gratification

In our age of emotional safeguarding – where we are protecting the people closest to us from feeling uncomfortable, individuals can’t become adults. Age is not the problem. The issue is the thinking part. We grow up believing that everything should be easy and everyone should respect us but when reality strikes, and then things get hard. When we receive honest comments about our work. We feel crushed. That’s why we tend to indulge in activities that bring us immediate gains so we can feel better.

From How to Overcome Instant Gratification