I wanted to take a minute to write a rebuttal to this.
Obviously we just had a major relaunch, so it’s fresh on my mind. While iteration is a huge part of of software development, it’s not all of it. The web has enabled developers to zero in on fixes, and release code on a daily basis rather than boxed gold masters as Kelly so accurately described. It’s a fantastic way to work.
But we came to a time when we were quite literally trapped inside our own platform. There was not a smart way for us to make the design responsive. There wasn’t a clear way to add the new features we wanted without them feeling “stapled on.” So we set about something more ambitious. We rethought the layout and organization of the application.
Maybe we could have subtly tweaked our way from there to here. I can’t imagine it, and it would have take 5x as long.
At one point Kelly says:
“If you’re at the helm of a young company preparing for a launch, don’t. Roll out what you have today to the appropriate users.”
If we had done that, we would have quite literally rolled backwards. Our first drafts were not hatched, and had no business seeing the light of day. We tested internally, tested with users, and when we were happy we released. Diving in sounds great —but in reality? What successful team doesn’t iterate then also periodically relaunch? Apple? 37Signals? Surely you can’t only iterate and stay in front of your competition forever?
Kelly goes on to talk about PR value, and its being a short-sighted goal.
We’re small; we rarely get any media attention. So it’s great for our team morale to have people talk about us and to us. We all had a blast yesterday, and that’s nothing that moving a button 5px could ever aggregate to. Either in publicity or in love for your job.
Not to mention, the hundreds of new users we got yesterday. Momentum is a funny thing. It picks up speed the more you get. It’s really hard to develop that gently rolling up and down small hills.
Anyway. LayerVault seems great. And I don’t know Kelly. But there is definitely more than one way to run a company. So for any of you feeling like you should reevaluate your launch plans: Since Kelly worked some great movie references in to her article, did you also stop drinking Merlot after watching Sideways?