The 99% Syndrome
Back in university, where I studied product design, one of our professors taught us about the 99% syndrome. In a nutshell, as we work to improve our product, we gain references or insights that may improve our product, and go back to work, trapped in an endless cycle of improvement where the product will ultimately never be finished.
The references or insights could be from reading, research or even input from other people, but it is a rare moment where all the references and insights that you have will all point to a common solution to which you can build and deem the product complete. Well, anything such as this would have to be so obvious as to have been made or invented already.
At some point we have to stop. At some point we have to make a judgment call and say “okay, I’ve analyzed enough data, I’ve done enough research, and I’ve arrived at the best solution based on the entire development process. Let’s wrap this up and give it a go.”
Worried about people turning away when they’re not happy with your product? Work on it and offer it again – people have a sufficiently short attention span today to get away with it. If you did your homework properly, the improvements will get you more customers.
We supposedly learn early in life that you really can’t make everybody happy; there is never a perfect solution that applies for everyone. There will always be that one guy in the group who prefers to go out for pizza rather than burgers. There will always be someone who says “meh” about your product. The trick is, make sure it’s nobody from your core target market. Because at the end of the day, a “meh” product that earns you $1 is still better than a never-finished product stuck in the 99% syndrome that costs you money.