When It Makes Sense to Release an Imperfect Product

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Editor’s Note: In the new podcast Masters of Scale, LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman explores his philosophy on how to scale a business -- and at Entrepreneur.com, entrepreneurs are responding with their own ideas and experiences in our hub. This week, we’re discussing Hoffman’s theory: if you're not embarrassed by your first product release, you released it too late.

As a startup, it’s difficult to know when to put your product or service on the market -- and people have different views of timing. For Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at VC firm Greylock, the earlier, the better.

Related: Why Mark Zuckerberg Runs 10,000 Facebook Versions a Day

“If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released it too late,” Hoffman, the host Masters of Scale, a podcast series in which he explores counterintuitive theories to growing a company, says in the fourth episode.

According to Hoffman, entrepreneurs should push out their products, get feedback and iterate.

But for Nicole Lapin, the New York Times best-selling author and co-host of Hatched, this doesn’t always make sense. She says this approach is specific to the startup community, with a focus on tech companies. For bigger companies and consumer-facing ones, it may be better to go with the “you only get one chance to make a first impression” approach.

Related: Mark Zuckerberg Reveals the 5 Strategies That Helped Facebook Grow at an Insane Rate

Check out the video with Lapin and our editor-in-chief Jason Feifer discuss when products should be released, concerns raised about getting feedback and what other factors entrepreneurs need to consider when pushing a product to market.

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