For most people the idea of launching a half-baked product is horrifying. You’ve been talking up your idea for months, been working crazy hours and even taken money from friends and family. This is the first time people will be seeing what you’ve been dreaming about and you want everything to be perfect. You feel like your entire reputation is at stake.

Unfortunately, you didn’t work with StartupGiraffe and things aren’t there quite yet. The site doesn’t work in IE (which your mom uses), crashes your browser if you click too many things too quickly (which your annoying co-worker has a tendency of doing) and is missing that killer “make my pictures look really old and cool” feature. So what do you? Launch anyway (to a handful of selected people)…

The first version of your product isn’t meant to have mass appeal. It’s purpose is to find out if you are heading in the right direction and see if you are really solving a customer need. The feedback you will receive will far outweigh the effort spent trying to “make everything perfect.”

The earliest stages of a startup focus heavily on product development. Launching early opens up a whole new world of awesome things to do for founders (especially non-technical ones). You can start acquiring customers, doing biz dev deals, speaking with investors, and planning v2 of your site (which will be much more awesome). In short, start demonstrating demand and traction.

Anyone disagree?

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  3. Deciding Between Startup Ideas
  4. Why free software usability tends to suck