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SETTING OF THE BUILD

September 8th, 2020

 

Products sometime have terrible timing. Five years too late, ten years too early.  One would wonder if Jules Verne had been today if he ever would have picked up a pen and written his science fiction.  It’s quite likely he may very well become an entrepreneur and engineer, seeking to bring his visions to life instead of recording them for others to take up when the circumstance for their possibility to arise.  

 

Building isn’t just a matter of making a thing.  It’s about twisting a circumstance and setting at the right time, in the right way.

 

This is why it is vital to get feedback early and iterate.  Feedback doesn’t just tell a builder what is right or wrong about their product, feedback is really information about the environment and the time in which we build.  Imagine for a moment someone had built twitter before there were smartphones.  It could have worked on desktop computers before the rise of pocket super-phones, but would it have taken off?  Had someone built twitter before the rise of smartphones the project may have seemed like a failure.  But imagine if, instead of seeing the project as a failure, the failure itself was regarded as feedback about the environment?  

 

Another example that is a little bit more subtle is Instagram.  There were certainly photo sharing apps before instagram, and there were smartphones years before Instagram launched, but what enabled Instagram to become the success it was has to do with camera technology.  There were cameras on phones for years before Instagram, but the launch of instagram coincided with a substantial jump in the capacity of cameras on phones.  The builders were a bit lucky in this timing, but we can also regard the success of instagram as a feedback about the environment and further proof regarding the new advancements in camera tech and the perennial desire of people to show off their life.  This might seem trite, unless the builder applies it to the situation of failure.  If something isn’t working, what does that indicate about the environment and the timing?


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Podcast Ep. 877: Setting of the Build

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