Something I’ve noticed a few times in recent months, that I wanted to quickly bring up and discuss, is this trend to announce new features or redesigns before they’re ready to release. Maybe some people have realized Tom and I never talk about anything prior to it being ready for the public. Are we excited for new stuff? Of course we are. I’m literally jumping out of my skin with excitement for what we currently have baking. But we never give out details or release screenshots. The reason is when you’re releasing a big redesign or feature, there’s always a good chance of setback. And if we told the public about it, 2 or even 1 month prior to it’s release, and then we had to delay it, people would lose confidence in us. Look at what we did with The Old LP. That was kept a secret till it was released to the public. If we didn’t do that, we would have pissed off a lot of people cause that was delayed twice I think. We thought it would take a week or two and it ended up taking more than a month. It was a giant project. One that we couldn’t predict the completion of. A lot of inexperienced people forget the fact that if they’ve never done something before, they don’t just have to consider if they can do it or not, but they also have no idea how long it will take. It’s like predicting how long it will take you to drive from New York to California, when you’ve never even driven as far as Pennsylvania. You would never consider driving to California without asking yourself how long it will take. Sure you might ask yourself, and then say you don’t care you just want the adventure of driving to California, but you’ll still think about it. It’s the same thing with changes to your website or service. I think a lot of people just ask themselves if their users will like and appreciate the change, then they ask themselves if they can do it, but then they really can’t accurately predict the eta of these changes before talking publicly about them. There’s just a whole host of issues you’ve never encountered before, and predicting if the journey is physically possible, is equally as tough as predicting how long the journey will take.
One thing of note, Tom and I do something we call Controlled Leaking. Basically if the situation justifies telling someone about a future feature, we’ll explain that it’s coming, but we’re not completely sure when it’ll be released. This usually occurs during a support question or feature request. But we’d never talk about a future feature in a public forum or social network. It invites too many questions and off the cuff requests for edge case features. Things we’d probably never consider cause they’re of such a specific need, it would complicate the service for 99% of the customer base. And it’s never fun telling someone we can’t do X because of Y, in a public forum.