SourceFuse PowerUp Digital Product Development Series

#1 Why Speed Is Still God

“Speed is god and time is the devil” was a trendy phrase and book in Silicon Valley during the first internet boom. It’s more important now than ever before that startups and digital product development groups make haste as new and potentially disruptive entrants pour into the ring from all corners of the globe.

Why speed is still god is the first in a series of articles related to digital product development. We are writing this series to share our collective experience and best practices conceptualizing, building and launching innovative digital products and solutions.

We’ve been launching digital products and teams for startups and large companies for many years, including bringing multiple digital product companies to scale, profitability and successful exits. The team here knows firsthand what it takes to build a digital product, acquire customers and generate revenue. We don’t just build software; we drive digital businesses forward.

The series will address challenges companies face delivering products to market including strategy, investment requirements, team building, managing corporate culture, communications, venture capitalists, outsourced resources, non-technical founders, perfectionism, capital efficiency, product specification, software development methodologies, and a host of others.

Very few successful digital products result from the initial “great” idea. Most successful digital products or companies result from little ideas that evolved into the winner. GE is successful not because of the big ideas it creates internally, but because of the little ideas others bring to market that spur innovation at GE, which in turn creates bigger, better and highly profitable businesses.

So, your initial product or solution idea is very likely not the big one. What you need to do is get your little idea into the hands of your end user (not your husband or friends or investors or CEO), the real end user—the public in most cases or a select group of companies—ASAP, so you can determine as quickly as possible product viability as initially conceived. Determining efficacy and adoption are critical, especially if you are seeking capital from investors or convincing a CEO, who these days are all risk averse. My experience is that beta or minimally viable products (MVP) should be designed, developed and launched in no more time than three to six months depending on the complexity of the product.

Speed is so important in successful product development execution. Some products you can get out the door sooner than three months, like a simple content aggregation mobile app. Speed mitigates risk, is capital efficient, prevents work unnecessarily expanding, and keeps you competitive and on the forefront.

 

There are so many competitors, startups and individuals noodling away to make it big in the digital space. The number of tools that are being developed to enable deskilled and rapid mobile and cloud application development is growing. It’s pretty certain that unless you have some compelling, ironclad IP behind your great idea, there will be a handful of competitors right behind or next to you. And unless you have a war chest to rapidly penetrate a market and brand your product, you don’t have a shot at success.

We recommend that you create this timeframe expectation with all stakeholders very early on in the process, so there is an urgency culture. You will inevitably have team members who will object, such as the much-loved perfectionist, but keep in mind most products fail due to poor development execution and misunderstanding the needs of the market.

Cyrus Maaghul, EVP and Product Strategist, SourceFuse, LLC