In the world of innovation, precision always loses out to speed.
People always remember who was first: Neil Armstrong, Secretariat (above), John Hancock.
But just try asking people who was the second person to step onto the moon, or which racehorse placed second in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, or who was the second person to sign America’s Declaration of Independence.*
It’s the same with new products and services. Being the first to market allows a company to define their niche in the minds of customers. Waiting to launch until perfection is achieved can cause a company to miss that all-important chance to be the one everyone else is evaluated against.
In some cases, the first product to go successfully to market can even create the vocabulary people use to refer to all products in that niche. People “Xerox” their documents, they blow their noses on “Kleenex” and when they need to write a short note that can be easily removed, they use a “Post-it”.
There are now many producers of copy machines, face tissues and sticky notes, but the first brands still stick in the minds of consumers. Even though they may not be perfect, the winners are almost always the ones that distinguish themselves first.
* Buzz Aldrin, Sham and someone so unacknowledged that I can't even find their name!