Digital Innovation April 22, 2024 Last Updated: April 24, 2024

“Starting ugly” in the context of launching a digital product generally means releasing a basic, often minimally viable product (MVP), to the market early, even if it’s not fully baked idea or polished digital product.

When executed thoughtfully and in the right context, starting ugly can be a powerful way to launch a startup idea. However, it requires careful consideration of the risks and a clear plan for responding to user feedback.

Like anything thing else “starting ugly” approach also has its pros and cons.

The main advantage is that it allows you to collect user feedback and customer insights from real users early in the digital product’s life. This feedback can be invaluable for making data-driven improvements and can help ensure the digital product is evolving in a direction that meets the market’s needs. It also helps in managing resources efficiently, focusing on features that customers truly want and would love.

However, there are risks involved. Launching a digital product that’s perceived as incomplete or underdeveloped might damage a brand’s reputation or dissatisfy early adopters. If the essential elements of the product are too raw, users might turn away and never return, even after improvements are made.

Fun fact: Do you know that 98% of the apps downloaded by the users are never used after 10 mins of downloading.

Ultimately, the feasibility of starting ugly depends on the nature of the market you are going after and the software product, the expectations of the target customer, user audience, and the ability of the startup to iterate quickly in response to user feedback (verbal and data driven feedback).

I think the “Start Ugly” approach, or developing a minimum viable product (MVP), can be very effective, but whether or not it depends on several factors:

1. Product Type and Industry:

If the digital product is in a high-stakes industry like healthcare or finance, where bugs and issues could lead to significant problems, a more polished initial release is advisable. Conversely, for software or consumer apps where the risks are lower, starting your product ugly may be a smart strategy.

2. Market Dynamics:

In fast-moving markets where being first can be a significant advantage, starting ugly might be necessary to capture market share quickly. However, in established markets with high-quality expectations, it might backfire.

3. Resource Availability:

Companies with limited resources might benefit from this approach, as it allows them to validate ideas without committing extensive time and money. This can be crucial for startups. At ISHIR we offer this as a service to bold startups and enterprises.

4. Customer Expectations and Engagement:

If the target user base is highly engaged and willing to provide feedback, starting ugly could work well. It can foster a community feeling and make users feel like they are part of the development process. However, if users are more passive, they might simply choose a competitor’s more polished digital product.

5. Company’s Ability to Iterate:

The success of starting ugly hinges on how quickly and effectively a company can iterate based on user feedback. Startups must be prepared to make rapid changes and improvements; otherwise, the strategy can fail. Enterprises are usually averse to failing such it why starting ugly usually does not gel with their management.

6. Innovate. Innovate. Innovate:

For enterprises, perfect execution may be critical, but constant innovation by starting ugly may be vital to success and address the immediate market needs. Startups live by innovation and are far more comfortable with failure and pivots than the enterprises.

Start Ugly is a call to arms to encourage startup founders and intra-preneurs to take action on your ideas so you can release yourself from the chains of perfectionism and experience the joy and growth that comes with launching a success digital product.

It is also a powerful reminder to continually innovate so complacency doesn’t allow you to become obsolete in our fast-paced world we live in today.

To learn more about Starting Ugly, please contact us. Let’s talk UGLY.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *