30 September 2008

Getting it Right Before Going to Market

Somewhere in the last 15 or 20 years it seemed to become a business axiom that getting to market fast is more important than getting the product right first. "Get it out there, grab share, and then you can fix it in version 2.0" - maybe it wasn't really Microsoft that invented the concept but they sure seemed to live off it for a long time. So it's pretty interesting to see that there are companies that refuse to follow this trend and instead try hard to make version 1.0 pretty good.

One of them, of course, is Desktop Factory, which I've written about frequently - they could have gotten a lot of press and attention by shipping product last year - but it wouldn't have been a GOOD product, and they would have had dissatisfied customers. They are working hard, with shoestring budgets, to get it right, and then ship.

Another example arrived in my email today. Gridiron Software has been demoing their new concept workflow program "Flow" for at least a year - in fact, I think I first heard about it in mid-2007. Here's the message I got today:
We've just returned from IBC in Amsterdam and Photoshop World in Vegas, and the response to Flow is better than anything we could have imagined. First off - THANK YOU. Your interest is proof that Flow is a much needed product in your workflow, as well as that of your peers. So you may be asking - where the hell is it?

I wanted to send you a quick update on where we are with the product. Flow is completely new. Nothing like it has ever been built before. With new technology comes new challenges. We also understand how you work, and that you need to depend on RELIABLE technology to get through your day to day work.

Flow is meant for Creative Professionals. This is not a hobbyist tool - its meant to enhance the fundamental workflows that allow you to essentially put food (amongst other things) on the table. What I am getting at is - Flow will NOT be flaky; it MUST be technology you can depend on. The response to Flow is proof that it is just "that" important.

Therefore - I wanted to let you know that although we are not far off - we are not yet there. We are holding this product to a higher standard of quality than ever before, and will NOT put it in your hands until we believe (along with our private beta testers) that it can stand the test of real-world, high stress production. Over the coming weeks, I'll send another status update with a more concrete timetable.

In short - I firmly believe that Flow will live up to your expectations (and more) once it is cooked. Until then - please be patient and understand that I and my entire crew are literally working round the clock to give you a product you can depend on, along with technology that just might change the face of the creative computer desktop forever.

GridIron Software Inc.

I applaud them for working hard to get it right, and having pride in their product. I hope it pays off for them.


SK said...

Getting it right is tough enough. Getting it right in time for the market is event tougher. Often start ups also have to figure out "which market" while they do all this. The concept of "launch" seems to be disappearing in web services. Users can click off if they are dissatisfied as most services are free. But when you sell machines and software the burden is on the developer to get it right before it is shipped.

I can appreciate what Steve Jobs mean by "Great Artists Ship" . Getting new ideas into products ready for shipping is a great art in itself.

Michael Berman said...

I have great respect for those who put everything they have on the line and have to make these decisions... it's a tough world, especially right now.