Working 3 Years on a New Idea : The Jotform Product Story.
Startup Codex

I selected this post from Aytekin Tank for two reasons.

  1. It is an excellent feedback on the creation of a product that has been a real success without having raised funds or made a lot of noise.

  2. It comes in direct contradiction to the "Ship or Die" approach, which adds an interesting subject for discussion.

I distinctly remember being exposed to the 'Ship or Die' concept for the first time after reading a post from Seth Godin during the first year of my second company. *Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly," Godin wrote.

As seductive as this approach was, however, it was not in my DNA to be able to adhere to it. And the technical complexity of what we were trying to do was just as incompatible.

Aytekin Tank founded JotForm in 2006. The company now has several million users. He also took the opposite side of the Ship or Die and went as far as taking three years to make the first version of their service.

Here he shares the lessons he learned from creating the product at JotForm and gently tackles the Ship or Die approach.

At JotForm, we aren’t racing down a finish line, trying to push our product into the market before it’s ready.

While I get the temptation in “just shipping” a new product, here’s where I disagree:

You risk mediocre results.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for “excellence at all costs.” Far from it.

But by staying focused on quality, I am building an enduring company.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have such a great vision when it comes to coming up with novel ideas and rapidly getting them out to the market. I’m not the next Steve Jobs, And I’m OK with that.

What I do have, however, is the eagerness to listen closely.