When you are building for a global audience, everything seems to move at light speed. Your users are online 24/7 and so is your competition. Nobody cares about ‘business hours’ anymore. All that matters is Happiness. You can leave no stone unturned, no feature half-baked and no tweet unreplied to in the pursuit of their happiness.
To build a great experience for users who drop apps at light speed, you need to move at light speed yourself. Everything you do is crucial and everything you miss is fatal. This is a gross oversimplification of the harsh realities of a contemporary technology startup, but it doesn’t belie the truth. Once successful companies can look like also-rans in the matter of only a few quarters, lest they keep up with the always-on crowd. Apps that defined your mornings can feel sluggish and not-real-timey-enough if they don’t push out updates regularly.
Working at these speeds requires discipline and drive. Insane drive. Almost maniacal obsession to be on top of every single point of contact, every single click, every single request. Drop the ball and your users pass you by.
As you start out creating something out of nothing, it quickly becomes clear that you need to learn things you hadn’t planned on learning. The most valuable thing that you learn is the art of saying No.
If you are leading the process, you need to identify holes in the idea, process and people that might detract you from your ultimate goal. Counter to popular belief, this doesn’t always become easier with experience. With each new idea come new people, new processes and new hurdles for a new goal. What remains constant is to be able to say no to bad ideas which could quickly balloon to take up your precious time.
Each time you add a new feature, you make another promise to your customer. Before you do that, check if you have done all you can to keep the promises you have already made. Focus on your existing promises and say no to the rest.