Today I spent the day at TechStars for “TechStars for a Day”. It was a very overwhelming day and I met a lot of interesting people. I came out of the day with a number of realizations about things that I’ve been doing “wrong”, and improvements that I need to make in my approach.
1. Private Beta == Bad
This notion that I’ve had of letting just the core community members in to test a closed beta of Garden & Vanilla 2 is simply a bad idea. After all, why limit the user-base when I know that *all* of you have fantastic ideas? So, the first beta that goes online will be open to anyone to register and use. I want everyone to get a taste ASAP.
2. Delivering on Promises
I’ve been explaining the softare for literally months without giving any of you any real immediate interaction. I need to pick up the pace and get something out there for you guys to play with SOON. I don’t have a specific date for you, but my hope is that we’re talking about weeks, not months.
3. Listening to You
Obviously I have my ideas of what I would like to see the software do. But ultimately it will be you, the users, who judge the software as something you will want to use – or not. So, after you’ve had a chance to use it, I will be paying a lot of attention to your feedback. What do you like? What don’t you like? What is missing? What have I overlooked? etc.
4. Open the Source
I still believe that it is important to have a real focus on where the software is going. But I think I’ve been confusing that need with “letting go of control”. The way that changes were implemented with Vanilla 1 were far too constricted. I’ve been speaking in private chat with a bunch of the Vanilla 1 developers about this, and while I won’t be allowing *everyone* to commit changes to the core, I will be accepting bugfixes and change suggestions from the community and allowing other Vanilla 1 developers to review and decide on which ones should be a part of the core. Some Vanilla 1 developers are already looking into ways we can facilitate this process, and I’ll be relinquishing a lot of control to them right away.
With all of these things in mind, my primary goal for the software in the immediate future is to get a beta online right away. I’m trusting that everyone is aware that the design isn’t going to be as polished as the final product will be. My focus will be on completing core features and not focusing so much on design. Design can be polished later.
The bottom line comes down to a quote I heard today: Getting all of your ducks in a row is important, but it is more important that you do something with the ducks. That is now the focus.