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Why faster feedback is important for startups

Hackathon (1)

Richard Dean

Lead Product Manager

Updated 23 July 19

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You learn more from your failures than your successes.

This is as relevant in the world of startups as it is in any other domain, but a key startup constraint is the scarcity of resources. Startups have a limited runway of time and money, that is why it is important to be conscious of how much an opportunity will cost and ultimately, is it worth it?

 

A startup is a risky undertaking and failure can be scary, but the reward can supersede the risk, if it’s done right. But what does right look like? Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet, but there is a compass to point you in the right direction. It’s all about feedback!

 

Our high performing teams and most successful startups are those that make finding and using feedback to create a better product a habit. When the startup’s runway is restricted and there are only a limited number of feedback loops that can be completed, any delay or missed opportunity to generate feedback will have an impact on a startup’s chances of success.  Missed opportunities can build up and force us to make uninformed future decisions with poor quality or judgement. 

 

When a change is made, ensure there is some way of measuring the impact. You can get stuck into the detail with analytics and data science but during the early stages, it is often as simple as talking to the people whose problem you are trying to solve. Be brave and expose yourself to the risk of failure. Sometimes the feedback will be good and sometimes it will feel as if you have missed the mark completely but try not to let negative feedback feel like an attack on you or your ideas. See it as a valuable piece of information you previously lacked.

 

In Nova, when I’m working with our delivery teams to build products I like to ensure we release products and prototypes early and often. I know there will always be some uncertainty when we release early product updates, for instance, “will our users get value from this feature?” but the longer we wait the greater the uncertainty. It is better to get real feedback from users earlier on, even if it's negative, then at least the problem has been identified and can be corrected before the cost to respond is greater. 

 

Failure is simply the opportunity to start again, but this time more intelligently. 

 

I’ll leave you with a video that can help you with learning how to get feedback while reducing the biases we each hold.

 

 

 

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