Pfffft, the danger of premature shipment

The old economy demanded a flurry of hard work, obsessive focus, and a charrette before launch. Launches were expensive and rare, and managers and co-workers would push to get everything just right before hitting the big red button to announce, ship and launch. The attention demanded by this scarcity raised the game, overcame fear and pushed things from one level to another.

A big reason for the push is to ameliorate risk. Launching is risky business, and one way to diminish that risk in a world of scarcity and market noise is to go big. And then big becomes a habit.

In the new economy, in the economy of launch and learn and revise, some of the POP! is replaced by Pfffft. Because there's no big launch, we get more easily distracted, we don't push ourselves as hard, we don't treat that first day as as big a deal. There's less risk because you're going straight to your tribe, not hoping for a cultural mass-market sensation every time.

The thing is, if I had a book launch party every time I posted on this blog, the cheese and crackers would kill me. And the idea of a gold master in software development is now an antique. There's a paradox here:

The good news is that fewer good ideas get killed for feeling too risky.

The bad news is that sometimes we trade in the important for the trivial.

The punchline is that some artificial pop might be required. Just because it's easy to ship doesn't mean you shouldn't push yourself. The art is in ignoring the fear that pushes you to polish too much…