Why Launching Now Is Better Than Launching Tomorrow

Launching a startup or website takes time. It takes time to get ideas and thoughts organized, to develop them into something usable, and to put them on paper – or in this case, on the web. One thing I’ve learned from developing websites however is that even if you have the greatest idea in the world, launching a week later than the competition means your website will struggle from the start to gain traction.

Take Manteresting for example.

Manteresting launched February 16 2012. Development for the site began in late 2011 and got heavily underway in November/December. There was nothing else on the market like Manteresting, aside from Pinterest of course, but we were targeting men which was new. Almost exactly one month before we officially launched Manteresting, we spotted this article on Mashable: Mustaches Prevail on Gentlemint, the Pinterest Site for ‘Manly Men’

Crap crap crap!

Our competitor, the only competitor for our market, just launched a month before we did. We are screwed.

We had to think on the bright side here which was that the guys behind Gentlemint built their site in 12 hours and it had little to no features. It was a flat site, no infinite scrolling, no ability to Like or even repin images – the site content wasn’t share-able, searchable or tagable, it was just a place for people to bookmark their own content.

Props to these guys for the fast development and launch of their site, but Manteresting will blow it out of the water when we launch.

Can you guess what happened?

We launched a month later than Gentlemint and it took us almost six months to overcome them in numbers (user accounts created and images pinned/nailed).

Even though Manteresting launched with almost a full feature set comparable to Pinterest, we were unable to take the spotlight from Gentlemint for some time and when we did, we were still playing catch-up to their search engine rankings. All because they launched before us.

After all, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon…followed by that other guy.

[jpshare]

“Comparing a startup company and a little blog on the Internet isn’t the same thing”, you might say.

Yes, that’s true. AntiNecktie is just a little blog (for now!) but there is much more to launching early than just the possibility of competition taking the spotlight.

Here’s another example I’m sure you will be familiar with.

How many of you have written an idea on a napkin at lunch?

I use Evernote to catalog my ideas instead of napkins. Right now, I have 698 ideas on record. These are domain names, startups, blog posts unwritten, each with a title and description – an outline of the idea, what it might be used for, initial research I’ve done into each ideas marketability. 698 ideas that I have yet to act upon.

Launching now means your idea launches with its original flame, your full focus behind it and you give it the best shot of succeeding. Over time, ideas get stale. You start to doubt yourself and your idea. Other ideas get in the way. That’s life, it keeps moving.

I bought the domain for this blog over a year ago. I knew exactly what I wanted to do here but I failed to act quick enough and my attention got pulled in other directions. If I had launched a year ago, who knows where this blog might have been.

This time around, I wasn’t waiting for the perfect moment to launch AntiNecktie. I needed to launch it yesterday! So I threw together something remotely presentable, covered some of the basics of launching a blog and just launched!

I suggest you do the same. The “fail early, fail often” mantra has been around for ages. Who knows where it began (I can’t find the origination, if you know, please let me know if the comments), but that is some excellent advice. You never know what idea will take off but if you don’t push your ideas out the door, none of them will.

In some races, there is no second place.

Tell me, ever experience the “oh crap, they stole my idea!” feeling? Tell me all about it in the comments and don’t forget to share this if you enjoyed reading!

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 Why Launching Now Is Better Than Launching Tomorrow
Jesse Michelsen has been working in the tech industry since 2005 as a systems administrator, developer and security consultant. He specializes in WordPress, LAMP and Python. He has a passion for the web and social progress. Read more about Jesse here

Comments

  1. says

    I know this feeling all too well… I’m horrible about wanting something to be “perfect” before anyone sees it. Which is a nice thought, but too often it results in me feeling like I missed out on something or getting mad because someone got there first. At the same time, I can’t stand the thought of launching something that isn’t ready. It’s really hard to figure out what to do!

    That said, maybe if I had fewer ideas I wouldn’t have to deal with this… :)

    • says

      The whole dilemma reminds me of the widespread confusion that we as individuals are all on the same playing field. This is hard to explain via comment but I read some statistics about young married couples and why they get in debt. When a couple first gets married, they have a tendency to compare their life with that of their parents. Obviously, their life won’t compare as far as possessions and success, but because of that unbalanced comparison, young kids start getting into debt trying to keep up appearances. What they don’t realize is, their parents have what, 20 years on them at least? They are 20 years ahead of the game.

      How this applies here is, I’m always comparing my designs to the big boys. I want my launch to be perfect because I would hate for my traffic to see such an unfinished product…yet I have no traffic. It’s an unbalanced comparison. If you look back at the early days of some of the biggest sites out there, they did not launch in the state they are in now. They weren’t too pretty, they weren’t polished and their features weren’t present or complete as we know them today. Time moves on and heals bad designs :)

      Of course, every situation is different but for some projects, I’m more concerned about getting them out than getting them perfect first…does that ramble make any sense? :)

      • says

        Yeah, that does make sense. My problem usually isn’t the design – it’s the content. For example, I’m working on a new site and the I love the design (pats self on back). But I don’t want to launch until I have at least 4 posts in each category because the homepage looks weird otherwise. Finding the time to work on said posts is nearly impossible. Once I get past that hurdle, I can post once a week and not stress about it, but I have to get there first. Sometimes I feel like trashing the whole project because it’s taking so long.

        • says

          Ah yea, that’s true too. Ever thought of just putting filler in? Placeholders? I’ve done that to an extent with AntiNecktie. If you click on any links in my two first posts, most of them go to a placeholder page as a teaser for the future. I’m experimenting with this as I’ve never seen it done this way before, but I think it can be a happy medium between launching a full site way too late, or launching early and trickling in content.

          You could write a teaser for each article and post them up, finish the pieces and unpublish/republish them with the new publish date.

          Now I’m curious about your new project…hehe

  2. says

    You make a great point. My problem is that I often say, “When I have time for that,” or “When things slow down a little.” The problem is that I never seem to have time. Instead, I need to MAKE time, and just go for it.

    • says

      Yea I experience that sometime too but often find that not making time is a cover, a way to procrastinate because I feel like I won’t have enough time to make something perfect. Ya just gotta go for it sometimes and let perfection come later :)

      For example, with most hosts, you can install a WordPress instance with the click of a button – 5 minutes. It takes another 10 minutes to outline a blog post and maybe an hour to write one (I know you write faster than me too, so this timeline is probably twice as long as it needs to be). In just over an hour, you launched a project. Of course, launching is only half the battle and not every project is as simple as launching a WordPress install but you know what I mean

  3. says

    I’m so imperfect and so impatient that I launch whatever whenever I feel like it. Take posts for example. When I feel it’s good enough, I’ll publish. Then I’ll read it a couple times once published to fix mistakes before it goes out to the e-mail feed. I’m trying to do better at quality control, but I don’t want it to be at the expense of fun.

    Sam

  4. says

    Great point. If I had waited to start BFS any longer, I may have overwhelmed myself and never started. I mean, my first readers had to put up with some crazy stuff for the first month or two, but at least I’m still going 3 years later. :-) Great post!

  5. says

    Hey Jesse,

    Before reading this post, I was skeptical. I thought every idea of mine was bad. Now I felt better. You’re right. Ideas will just keep overlapping and you just gotta stick to one.

    I’m wasting no time to embark on my new online project.

    Thanks! Nice post!

  6. says

    I am another one of those who is afraid to launch until I have something really good. I’m just afraid my initial traffic will think the site is lame and the negative word will spread. But I am equally afraid of being scooped by somebody else. Maybe your post is a sign I should just get off the fence already and do it! Thank you Jesse!

    • says

      Yep I know how that feels :) but the thing is, the early traffic won’t spread negativity, the worst they’ll do is nothing. People are generally not invested enough in things to spread negativity, that takes more effort than you might think. The early traffic will either get on board with your idea early or just forget about you :)

      Just do it already!! :)

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