HSR Layout is very nice place to live, except for lack of good places to eat out. So when we saw a banner “Manasarovar – Authentic Punjabi Khana. Opening soon” … we got there too soon. We drove by peeping in possessively hoping for the best. I went there this weekend first week since launch to order out. It’s a house converted to a restaurant, so u go past the bed room converted to a kitchen and then to the living room that is now the place to eat.
As I peeped into the place … I saw bunch of sweaty guys running around like headless chicken. I walked in and saw a few people eating. But the manager was yelling in the kitchen about some mixed up order. Take away menus in cheap flyer paper were thrown around. I asked him if they deliver home and he said the boy was missing today. After a few embarrassing minutes of silence and indecision … I decided to bail out and go back to our regular joint Aranya.
This is not the first time I have experienced a new launch like this. Why are people in a hurry to go live? Innovative Film City launched half baked. Google launched the SMS search where the example published in the ad didn’t work ! Nokia Ovi creaked and crashed on day 1. Yahoo New just for You links on the home page don’t work for Yahoo Mail !! (I have done worse)
I know the traditional arguments of “when it’s good enough” or “it’s just a Beta” or “we are agile and will iterate quickly”. I believe it’s a bad idea to launch poorly without basics in place. Cut the scope. Set the terms. Define the service levels. State the expectations. BUT … deliver 200% of what you commit (explicitly or implicitly). Get WOW reactions from day 1. If u didn’t get A+ reactions and great WOM from day 1 … no point talking for a product road map.
The market won’t go away anywhere. First mover advantage may very well be a mythical fact. A customer’s repeat visits and referrals a 10 times their first time transaction. It’s better to be small and great at the start … than be passable and big. (Don’t say “Microsoft” please … u are not a monopoly cash overflowing multi-billion $ giant … yet.)
May b u need to write down the basics that are non-negotiable from day 1. Time to pick up a call. Time to deliver the product. 1st time load time on your home page. Minimum clicks on your site to end-goal (order-signup-subscribe … what ever). So in all the planning and roadmaps … basics are never missed out.
Do it the right the first time. Do less. But do it right.