Don’t Launch? Counter-intuitive Advice from Eric Ries and Nivi

Eric Ries, the co-founder of IMVU, has a good post with some interesting and counterintuitive advice:  Don't Launch!  You should read the entire article but his primary objections to launches are:

  1. A marketing launch establishes your positioning.
    If you don't know what the right positioning is for your company, do
    not launch.
  2. When you launch
    with the wrong positioning, you have to spend extra effort and money
    later cleaning it up.
  3. Of
    course, we didn't realize it was a blunder at all. We were actually
    really proud of the positive coverage.
  4. You have to know your business model. Most
    startups launch before they've figured out what business they're in.
  5. You
    never get a second chance to launch. Unlike a lot of other startup
    activities, PR is not one where you can try it, iterate, learn, and try
    again. It's a one-way event, so you'd better get it right.

Nivi adds his take to the meme.

When I think about it, we never launched SelectMinds.  Our PR effort began after we had our product and first few customers.  Afterwards, it was introductions of new features or releases, but never a formal launch.

In contrast, we launched formally at Mondus.  It was a difficult task since we did not necessarily have easy references to explain what Mondus was about. Then came Facebook and everything changed.   However, the loud launch made the option of switching strategic direction a very tough one.

So, I think Eric makes a great point.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Launch? Counter-intuitive Advice from Eric Ries and Nivi

  1. I don’t want to sound overly negative, but I’ve never heard of any of the above-referenced companies, so were any of these launches really successful?
    No, I am not a hermit nor do I live in a cave. 🙂


  2. @sv dude: SelectMinds is one of the pioneers of enterprise social networking. Mondus is a Turkish social network. IMVU is a leading virtual world company. Mondus’s lauch was successful in creating initial awareness but like Ries suggests, later limited the company’s options.


  3. @Vincent: The launch Graham talks about is distinct from the launch Ries warns againts. Graham means “get you product out fast”. Ries warns about a loud, official “launch” which is more of a PR tactic.


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