Quality vs. Speed

Paul Boag

Within the startup community there is a saying “release early”. However, is that actually a good idea and does it apply to all websites?

All through history we have loved sayings. Whether it is the wisdom of Confucius or the Proverbs of Solomon, we love it when life lessons can be nicely compressed into an easy to digest soundbite.

But what happens when two of these nuggets of wisdom contradict? Take for example the mantra within the start-up community “release early”. How does this mesh with the old saying of “you only get one chance to make a first impression”? My problem is I can see both sides of this argument.

The benefits of releasing early

On one hand I love the idea of releasing early, because too many web professionals become obsessed with making their product perfect before launch. Setting aside that nothing we build will ever be perfect, releasing early allows us to test our site or application with real users and get real customer feedback. This is always better than any amount of careful crafting and tweaking of your product.

The dangers of first impressions

On the other hand I’ve also seen the damage caused by releasing too early. As the saying goes “you only get one chance to make a first impression” and I have witnessed web applications being shot down before they could even be properly launched. If users visit your site only to discover that it is missing key features or content, they may well never return for a second look. Worse still, if they encounter a buggy site they may conclude that those behind the product are incapable of producing anything better.

Up for debate

So this is what I wish to debate on our upcoming podcast:

This house proposes that it is more important to make a good first impression than to release early.

Do you agree with the house? Which side of the fence do you sit? Release early or make a great first impression?

But the debate is more nuanced than that. What does it take to make a great first impression? What does it mean to release early? Is it possible to release early and impress? If so how? Let’s discuss these questions in the comments.