How should I decide what to work on?

I have worked for three startups (2 exits, 1 still growing), co-founded two startups (1 failed, 1 exit), and I am currently focused on one I founded (still growing). Those experiences taught me a lot. But I learn even more by mentoring other founders through 500Startups and NewMe Accelerator.

Last week, I answered a handful of wonderful questions from the current class at NewME. This is one of them. The others are linked at the bottom.

Question:

“I am overwhelmed with everything I need to do and want to do so that we can launch. How do I decide what to work on?”

Answer:

At this point, my team might be tired of hearing of hearing me say this. I probably say it three to four times per day. But — especially in the early stages of a company — done is better than best.

And, before you tell me how much Steve Jobs would disagree, take a closer look at the first version of his (er, Woz’) product.

/via http://myapplecomputer.net/Apple-1/Apple-1_Story.html

In the early stages, it is much more valuable to just get stuff done, get it out there, and see what happens when it is touched by real people.

Is it really worth hiding in stealth for four months trying to prefect something, only to discover that when real people touch it, it doesn’t even solve the right problem? Or that they need more help with step 0.2? Probably not. So get something done, and get it out there.

The original question was about how to decide what to work on. I didn’t forget. I’m not avoiding that question, but I am going to avoid talking about project management decisions matrices etc. That comes later.

Right now, what you should work on next should be driven by,

What is the thing I can get done most quickly and into someone’s hands?

What about you? How do you decide what to work on next?


I am building Primeloop.com in Las Vegas with an amazing team. If you like actually Getting Things Done, not just talking about the book, come join us?

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