Product First, Everything Else Second

Why try to market, organize a business for, or sell a product if your product doesn’t even exist yet? I’ve been guilty of this a thousand times: recognize a great idea, get excited, and run outside to get everything off the ground. I’ve filed Limited Liability Corporations, printed posters, made announcements, and tried to raise money – for projects that hardly even made it on paper.

There are several problems with this. First, you’re spending a ton of time doing work that is not relevant until you have something to show for it. Time spent on “extras” means time not spent developing great content, executing ideas, and bringing your vision to life. Product is at the core of every great business and must come first (pray tell me one organism that grows from the shell inward?).

Moreover, the execution of ideas seldom aligns with the vision outlined in the first place. After facing obstacles and discovering new approaches to the same problem, the end result may look or feel nothing like the thing you set out to build. Any time you spend marketing, filing papers, and chasing investor deals for your project before you realize it will most likely be a complete waste of time. There will be a major disconnect between the core and the shell trying to promote it. Everything you did outside the lab will be invalidated by the discoveries within.

If you don’t have a product or story to tell, nothing else matters. Forget all the extra bullshit and get to the real work.


2 thoughts on “Product First, Everything Else Second

  1. The learning is the real work. The path illuminated is beyond the product. The guiding force is the means, not the end. The end is fleeting, the process and more importantly, the flow is everything. The product will be replaced, in short order. But the ability to see the product, to understand where and how it fits within the flow, to be a part of the flow, and hopefully above the flow – these are the real gifts, the really important matters. Understanding and accomplishing the details give us the means to make the true decisions that matter.

    By the way, the pearl grows within the shell, begins as an irritation, and then with patience becomes the thing of beauty. The idea is the product, it grows within, consuming much energy (like the pearl) as an irritation, until one day the idea springs into an action that then accomplishes a goal. The pearl is the culmination of negative energy transformed into positive product.

    And the story, well that IS the product. The ability to tell the story is the talent. And the means to convey the story is the connection to the audience. Light is the wavelength that the story rides upon, so shine your light and tell your story.

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