Today's startups, entrepreneurs and investors live and die by what seem like a series of holy proverbs. "Release early, release often" is perhaps one of the most poignant phrases when considering product launch and feature scope. On this cold Saturday, we're paying homage to the origins of the concept by recognizing one of the seminal works in programming philosophy, and looking at a recent startup that's taken it to heart.
In the late nineties Eric S. Raymond presented The Cathedral and the Bazaar convincing Netscape to publish open source code. The work's premises "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" and "release early, release often" were meant to justify early releases and crowdsourcing community feedback. While his work originally made a case for open source releases, it has gone on to inspire many outside of the open source realm.
Lead by Micah Baldwin, TechStars' comic platform Graphic.ly is launching its beta version under the "release early, release often" tenet. Said Baldwin in a recent blog post, "If we are truly going to get the community involved, we need them involved early and often. We need them now."
ReadWriteWeb first covered the mobile comic platform in November under its original name, TakeComics. Since then the company has rebranded as Graphic.ly, announced raising a little over a million dollars from Starz Media and appointed Baldwin as CEO.
As a serial entrepreneur, Baldwin rationalizes his company's early release saying, "So many young entrepreneurs get stuck in the 'What if' world and try to release the perfect app. At Graphic.ly, we just released our Baby Beta, which frankly sucked. Badly. But we are getting amazing feedback, and its clear that it will be such a better product in the long term."
GetSatisfaction and Zendesk to manage early-stage feedback. Graphic.ly is also looking to adapt products like Google Moderator for proactive feedback in order to engage community members in the engineering and product discussions.Baldwin is using a combination of
When asked about possible outcomes for the release, Baldwin replied, "The worst case scenario is that we don't engage our community properly and lose their trust. There is nothing more dire than lost trust. The best case is that everyone who uses Graphic.ly sees their fingerprints all over it and shows it to their friends proudly, saying 'I built that. That's something I did.'"
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