Learning to enjoy your beta version
Accepting that what you show is just a prototype, that is, being open to receiving feedback, is key to continue growing.
I remember how when I was growing up, my knees hurt. My dad always told me that, many times, growing up hurts, but that in the end it is usually worth it. And it is that, looking back, one of the ideas that generate the most emotion / pride in me is to accept that the current version of myself has nothing to do with that of years ago , and, above all, it is not even remotely close To the version that I will one day become .
Imagine if all the applications you use on a day-to-day basis had waited until they were what they are today (speaking of features) to be released. Or even more so, what would have happened if they had never improved their initial version? Our lives would probably be very different. How have all these startups managed to know the right time to launch their products and never lose sight of maintaining a culture of innovation focused on the continuous best? We could talk about a myriad of activities and, above all, their mentalities; however, we will focus on three: the revaluation of the prototyping and the openness to feedback and the acceptance of the error as an opportunity for growth.
Part of the experimentation process and the essence of agile methodologies is the revaluation of prototyping. The well-known “MVP”, or Minimum Viable Product for its acronym in Spanish, is that model of your salable product or service that has the essential conditions to meet your value proposition and go on the market; always with the understanding that it is far from being the final version of your product. Moreover, one day I heard out there, and I could not agree more, that if looking back at your MVP does not make you feel a bit embarrassed, you waited too long to go on the market, why is it important to have an MVP? In the first place, because it helps us to know more about the behavior of our product in the market to validate / reject our hypotheses in a more agile, reliable way and with minimal resources. Through this, you will be able to obtain more information about your “early adopters” and, in addition, it is intended that you begin to generate sales, which always helps in the initial stages of a venture. Changing the dynamic from focusing on the product and a launch date, to focusing on the customer and seeking to learn from it, gives room to understand that absolutely any version of our product or service will end up being a prototype of the next one.
For all this “MVP” thing to really work, there is a key element to develop in entrepreneurs and their teams: openness to feedback . And it is that, if we really want to learn, it is necessary to listen. If we are honest, how complicated it is, sometimes, to approach people with the intention of listening to what they have to say, especially when this does not exactly match what you want to hear. We all agree that a key characteristic of any entrepreneur is passion. In this sense, when we are so “in love” with the solution we propose; When there is a lot of time (and money) invested in its development, I understand that it can "fall fat" to be told that we are not always right, either in identifying the problem, in the solution or in its characteristics. However, being open to listening to different opinions and visions can be very enriching and get us out of that "flawed cycle" in which we often fall. Feedback is essential in all stages of an undertaking, you just have to know who to look for it with. That is, probably when it is just an idea, it is preferable to approach with a mentor, with an entrepreneur that you admire or with someone from the industry in which you seek to undertake . The more advanced your concept is, you have to be, not only willing, but constantly looking for more and more feedback .
Accepting that you are not always right gives room to see error as an opportunity for growth. Of course, it is part of the human essence to be wrong. What's more, the greatest advances in society were the result of trying and failing, followed by trying again (and sometimes repeated countless times). Despite this, and unfortunately, many times it is easier for us to associate failure with failure than with learning. Changing this mentality is essential in entrepreneurship, not only because its path requires a lot of mistakes, but because it contributes to a true growth mentality. The risk, in case of not embracing the error, is that the fear of failure can immobilize and is definitely not a minor risk. What is a fact is that even to make mistakes we can be intelligent, hence the importance of, as well as evangelization in innovation, to fail quickly and cheaply. It is not the same to realize an error after a few weeks and a few pesos invested, than after years, savings used and even debt generated.
When reading this article, you may think that what is exposed here seems, even, something logical, not only if you are undertaking, but also applied to your personal or professional life. However, I have to confess that it is easier to write it than to practice it. Why? Because presenting your beta version, that is, accepting that what you show is just a prototype, being open to receiving feedback and accepting the error in order to learn, always requires exposure, and that can be difficult. However, it is also the real opportunity to grow. And yes, of course sometimes getting out of our comfort zone will make our knees hurt; What I can promise you, at least in my personal experience, is that, in the end, it is usually worth it.