Ship it — even if you’re embarrassed

Being a creator does not mean doing whatever is on our minds. It means doing something people care about. If we make something that doesn’t touch anyone, that people can’t relate to, then what have we done? Did we really create something if only we can see it?

“Invention is not disruptive. Only customer adoption is disruptive.” — Jeff Bezos

Any creation needs to have an impact. It must reach out, touch people and open a door for others to come in — and we’ll never know if it works unless we try.

Creating is not only about creative thinking, it’s about trying stuff and shipping products continuously to see how people respond — even at stages when we still have doubts about it. Especially when we have doubts — ship constantly.

Ship even if it doesn’t work quite right yet.
Ship even if you’re embarrassed.
Just ship the damn thing and the next idea will come.

The main reason we’re always better off shipping our unfinished work is that it ends up helping us. Sharing our work, even in its roughest stages, will be a surefire way of better understanding a problem, making room for a new and broader spectrum of ideas, thoughts, possibilities and — in the long run — steering us toward our market fit.

I’ve always felt this is the way it should be, and as a product manager and a creator, I have done so myself throughout my career. In the past two years I have been through a wonderful journey, that ended with shipping a new experiment (because it’s always an experiment). It’s a book titled The Other Ideas: Art, Digital Products and the Creative Mind, about turning uncertainty it into inventive power and integrating artistic methods in the work we do.

It’s only now, a few months after I’ve shipped the first version and people have read it, that I begin to really understand what I’ve written. Shipping it prematurely made an amazing and significant change to the book. It led to a 2nd edition, which is far better than the 1st one — with more content, more examples, more guidance.

I couldn’t have done this huge improvement without shipping it early and letting my readers inform me of what works and what doesn’t.

When was the last time you shipped unfinished work? How did it effect your next steps? Was it worth it? Please go ahead and comment:)

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