Magic Happens When You Just Ship It (Avoid the Big Reveal)

David Cancel
Published in
3 min readApr 25, 2016


You’ve been hidden away all week just cranking away. Making progress. Getting shit done. And now it’s time to show a customer, client or co-worker what you’ve been working on.

It’s time for the big reveal — that moment when you finally get to show all of your hard work to a friend, co-worker or customer.

And then you find out that:

  • Your client isn’t happy.
  • One of your co-workers was working on the exact same thing
  • Customers don’t really know how to use that hot new feature that you just built.

Sound familiar? I’ve seen this happen time and time again.

It’s human nature. We love the big reveal. We love that feeling of deferred gratification.

But this is a terrible process for work.

You’re Better When You’re Shipping

When it comes to your business and your products, there’s one thing that will have a bigger impact on your growth than anything else: customer feedback.

But the only way to get customer feedback is to ship something.

Shipping starts the feedback loop as quickly as possible — and when you’re at a startup, you need as much feedback as you can get. Or in baseball terms, you need as many at-bats as you can possible get. The best way to do that is to ship as fast as possible.

In this post I’m talking about one my key beliefs when it comes to building products: showing your work and avoiding the big reveal. As a bonus, here are the four things to think about when building a product team.

Ship, get feedback, learn, iterate, repeat.

When you’re constantly shipping, you’re constantly learning. But here’s the other benefit of always shipping — it makes you a better teammate too.

Shipping equals showing your work, and showing your work creates an environment of transparency and shares your thought process with everyone.

Have you ever tried to give someone feedback after you know they’ve been working on something for weeks? It’s brutal. And they don’t want to hear it.

Constantly shipping makes the feedback process much better, and it builds trust. It makes it so you can’t just go off and hide somewhere and have your whole company and team wondering what you’re working on each week.

The daily output doesn’t matter — what matters is that you’re putting yourself out there every day for feedback and sharing your thought process with your team.

Avoid the big reveal.

Your teammates and customers will love you.

If you enjoyed this post you can hear more about “Just Shipping It” on the latest episode of Seeking Wisdom.

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David Cancel

Entrepreneur. Investor. CEO @Drift.