The math behind the fear of launching and how it can make you look cool
First of all: This case study is about our (this) website.
However, we’re also suggesting the same underlying 80:20 principle to clients, but then it is never about an unfinished design process. More a question of “I’m not sure if the product/service is 100% ready yet”.
So what happened? We have just re-launched our website, although it’s not done. It’s still better than what we had before. What are the takeaways for you?
Well, we all know it: the first 20% of every project is great. Starting fresh, new things, totally exciting for the monkey mind. Unfortunately most of the time, that feeling is lost once you’re over 50% through, or at last when reaching about 80%.
We started redesigning our site months ago. Constantly doing some small steps as soon as we found the time for doing so. Or hey, taking time for doing so. Because we were very unhappy with our old website. We were so unhappy we didn’t even dare to update the heavily outdated portfolio.
But as time passed and we found ourselves in the most expensive city in Germany, we ran out of time resources for investing in our own web presence. Damn!
Let’s go back to a general point of view. I don’t have any numbers, but channeling the universal knowledge (-> monks!) I maintain that:
Most project ideas fail after registering the domain name.
Ok… and if you break through that barrier, there’s only one more major hurdle to pass.
Most projects that go from idea to production (and therefore don’t end up empty in the domain portfolio…) fail at ~80% of ‘being there’.
- Because our perfectionist ego kicks in?
- Because we care more about the exciting bits than the uncomfortable but necessary ones?
- Because we start too many other projects in parallel?
In our case it’s a combination of all of the above.
- Make one more major leap forward until you are somehow ready to launch. Could be 80.1% or 85%.
- Launch and promote. Eyes closed if necessary.
- Finish via “open heart surgery” (finish the remaining % while the site/product is live).
This website is not perfectly optimized for Android 2.3 devices and below, which is a bit embarrassing for a web design studio (we’re on it!). We now look incompetent to around 5% of our visitors. Analyzing the “before”, we probably looked incompetent to around 95% (100% minus family members and friends who love us unconditionally). That’s a 90% reduction of incompetence.
The thing is: you might think not having a product or website out there at all isn’t incompetent at all. So you rest on your safe rate of 0% incompetence. And you might think that you lose when you launch something unfinished, and 5% of the visitors think you’re dumb. But that math is wrong! If you fascinate or touch 95% of your visitors, that’s huge and a big point on the plus side. That’s totally erasing those 5% that think you’re an idiot. Be cool and launch!
The one thing that won’t happen when you launch at 80% is that you stay at 80%.