Paul Graham knows how to make new things:
I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly.
» 6 Principles for Making New Things by @paulg
My strategy for solving steps D, E & F is simple:
First, put some junk up
What happens when you don’t?
Well, I spent 2 weeks writing my first executive summary. A one page document. Two weeks.
In doing so, we ice-boxed a ton of perfectly good investor conversations. They had asked us to send over a summary, and it took us forever to finish. We kept thinking we were close, so it “made sense” to wait “one more day”, and then tomorrow would bring the same justifications.
I’ll tell you this with 100% certainty. If we had sent them some [readable] junk on the first day, our round would have closed a heckuvalot sooner.
No investor has ever said the words:
You know, I really loved their business, but they ended a sentence with a preposition in their executive summary and their column layout was preposterous.
So my first step now is to put some junk up and ship it.
You can’t iterate till it’s live. Making changes to an unshipped product is just being flaky.
It’s changing your mind without data.
Two semi-subtle benefits
First, it gets the ball rolling.
Second, you’ll automatically invest the appropriate effort into each project. By launching the garbage version first, you’ll find yourself going back and improving it until it’s right.
But you’ll also find, more often than you think, that the shameful v1 does its job just fine, and you can happily leave it at that.
When you keep works-in-progress in the tank, you tend to make everything “done”, which means “as perfect as possible”, and which is rarely the optimal state for a new project.
Anyway, I’m writing this post for me. I’m working on a new site right now, and it’s about time to put some junk up.