You Need to Know to Grow

Posted by: Darren Odden
Category: Business, Strategy
process start

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Approx. 4 minute read

I love to research.

Study. Read the facts. Weigh benefits. Get pulled emotionally.

Recently, I reviewed Angular, Vue, and React. How are they built? What is their focus? What are the pros and cons?

I try a project in each. Then I execute. While I could worry over a given path and worry over going down a harder road, that will not complete a project.

I look at the community size. The support. Read why each framework does what it does.

Feel. Do I feel anxious? Why? Am I smiling and giving myself high fives? Why?

It is good to good to research. I am a firm believer in research and analytics. But this research can also create a major problem – paralysis through analysis.

As with all things, it comes down to balance.

Don’t worry, be “crappy.”

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki has said if you make a great product “your innovation can have elements of crappiness to it.” [1]. People will be forgiving if you are getting there.

Gmail is a great example. Google kept the product in beta for years before finally releasing it as a fully versioned product – and people used it! It had nuances and a glitch here and there, but people dug it.

Twitter Tweets
Tweet Storm by Katerina Limpitsouni

Twitter was awkward when it came out, but it was a game changer and brought people a whole new way of interacting with one another. Even bringing the mass population closer to their audiences, for better and worse.

If Twitter waited until they were perfect, they wouldn’t have learned along the way, and perhaps they would have painted themselves into a corner.

The point is that the greats got good enough to begin testing. Then they let it fly to see how people used it and what they did with it. They learned.

Adopting. Adapting.

I have been working with agile, iterative practices for over eight years now. I would by no means call myself a ridged purveyor of the agile, but I understand my key tenets I work from – Ideate,  Iterate, Innovate.

Creative Process
Creative Process by Katerina Limpitsouni

Ideate

Get the idea out of your head. Work through the idea and then put it to practice. It will iterate again in development (likely a few times). 

Like a good bread, an idea needs to come together to begin to breathe. It will rise. It needs to punch down so it can rise again. Each time it proofs to make the bread better. 

Don’t get stuck here because the dough will never bake and you won’t get bread.

Innovate

Putting the idea to work requires the first ingredients. A recipe. One recipe gives you rye. Another gets you Challah.

As you work through your recipe, you get the choice of what you are going to add to make it better. You may start with straight ingredients – a framework to draw from that you have had success with prior.

Going through the process, you get to the point of release. Will it be tasty. Will it need something. You only learn this by releasing it into the hands of those who will use it.

Iterate

You have completed the hard work! Congratulations! You are done. Or are you?

Now you get to learn if your hard work is paying off! You put the product in the hands of your users. Let them play with it. They can check out the tasty nuances.

This is the best time because you get to see how it was received. You get to learn. Did they like it?  What feedback did you get?

When we get the feedback, we get a chance to pivot in our iteration. It might be as simple as a slight redirection. I could be that you learned it needs to go an entirely new direction. It might be that you found out that it lost its audience and is necessary to close entirely. 

This last one could be the best thing to learn as you will have learned something that will save your business millions of dollars.

The main point is now you have a point to grow. In the case of Twitter, you get to move URLs out of the precious character space of a Tweet.

Social
Social Media by Katerina Limpitsouni

In the case of Google, you realize it is time for Google+ to retire. Google+ wasn’t bad. Much was learned from it. Google Photos grew from here. Now there are better places for the resources can be spent.

That first step…

Whether you create a new product or are starting a business, it is always the first step that is hardest.

The great thing about the first step is that momentum begins to build. Each step builds the momentum, but you need to take the first step. Each step can be small iterations. Learn from them. Your momentum and iterations can slingshot you into greater growth.

If you look at the whole, you are more likely to get overwhelmed. Take the time and focus on the one thing now. Let it live and breathe. See what it does. Learn from it, document and move on to the next thing.

Take the first step!

[1] http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/ten-commandments-from-entrepreneurial-evangelist-guy-kawasaki/

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Author: Darren Odden
A lifetime of design and development background and a passion for the user's experience. Combined with business and marketing skills, I harness all of these skills to collaborate and empower clients and their customers.