I picked up this nasty mindset somewhere along the way. It was this little voice that said “not unless it’s perfect.”
I never would show anybody anything until it was perfect. I would hide from the world, and craft this amazing thing (whether it be a product, a piece of music, a new skill…), then unveil it to the world as the cheers and praise came rolling in. Then I would stand there and be able to say “I did that myself” and “I knocked their socks off.” END Fantasy. Enter Reality.
This mindset flew in the face of one important thing I forgot. Exposure. Not something I forgot, something I was afraid of. I was afraid of exposure because what if I wasn’t good enough. Then came the reframing.
I was fortunate enough to meet with one of the most successful venture capitalists of all time, and he blew my mind. He completely reframed my idea of failure, to see it as a good thing. One of the most important things is to go out and fail, he told me. You have got to put yourself out there because there is the potential not of criticism but for feedback. He talked about the idea of minimum variable product. In a nutshell, this term refers to putting as least amount of something out to test to see if it is worth moving forward, because, he said, that know when to pivot away from something (with the least impact on your time and wallet) is as important as being able to move forward.
I have been trying to take his words to heart. For my current project, GTX,
I have tried to show it to as many trusted people as possible and get as much feedback as I can. It has dramatically shifted the way that I look at the project, and helped me not waste my money. Originally, the project was going to be the most beautiful perfect website, with no money spent to advertise it. Now, it is a work in progress for all to see, which markets the hell out of itself. Now, it is consumer driven- I am getting feedback from users about what works and what doesn’t. I am seeing the holes in the pedagogy, and working to help the people using my product. In this way the focus shifts from this being my project, to it being their project. That’s what it is really about- serving a community of people. And in the end, if it is helping those people the most, won’t they use it more and pay more for it.
If you only take away two things from my rambling then let it be this:
1. Most people are on your side and want to see you succeed. Use that to your advantage and get feedback.
2. Get yourself out there- exposure is more important than a perfect product. Your product/music/whatever is like a tree falling in the forest….if there is nobody there to hear it then…