The best part of blogging is the comments. My posts are usually about problems I'm wrestling with, so the ideas and reactions are incredibly useful. Unfortunately I went through a couple of rocky weeks with Intense Debate and lost some comments. Thanks to ID's Michael Koenig I'm back in business, but I wanted to quote one from Gist's Steve Newman that I thought deserved a post of its own. He commented on my Get Customers:
completely agree with this point. Exercise the app, label it whatever
you want (alpha, beta) but get it in the hands of users and setup the
necessary feedback framework to collect input and take action. On a
similar note, exercise your business model as soon as reasonable too.
Too often, startup companies keep the first day of revenue collection
on the horizon. Until you really start collecting dollars, you wont
know whether that business plan with the hockey stick growth really
does have a basis in reality. Being successful as a startup has
everything to do with building a product that people USE. Building a
business has everything to do with being nimble, adjusting and striving
to hit your goals in the real world, not in excel.
I couldn't agree more, though it can be a tough discipline to stick to! I always think of the hierarchy as feature, product, company. The key test of whether you're building a living company or just some cool technology (that only has a future if it's rolled into someone else's business model) is if you can persuade people to hand over cold hard cash for it.