You can launch sooner than you think

written by  Ryan Seamons

Building products and being a parent are both tough jobs that require immense amounts of influencing skill. Each week I share what I learn to help leaders at work and at home go from unsure to unstoppable through influence.

What I’ve been learning

You can launch sooner than you think.

Disney recently showed a perfect example of launching quickly with fewer features. They’ve enjoyed a successful launch of their new streaming platform, Disney+. Despite a few hiccups on day one, it seems to have been a wild success, launching with 10 million paying users.

That said, they left off some pretty basic functionality at launch:

jrwthecreator-3625602Doctor Manhattan @JRWTheCreator

Things we need from #DisneyPlus

– A “Continue Watching” playlist/queue
– Keeping track of where you left off in a movie/tv show
– Ability to see what you previously watched
– Ability to see your “Recent searches”
– A better functioning “Watchlist” feature

It seems silly to not have a ‘resume’ feature in a streaming platform. But is this impacting their metrics for success?


Nobody isn’t subscribing because of the current lack of the feature. And I doubt anybody asked for their money back. They invested time and energy into many things that are paying off.

I’m certain they’ll add each of these features in short order. Delaying the launch even 1 month would have cost them millions ($7/month x 10m users). And waiting for all things that are ‘supposed’ to be on a streaming platform would have opened themselves up to building unnecessary features and taking shortcuts that would slow them down.

Building features that don’t add user value is the downfall of many product teams. Assuming you know which features are needed is a recipe for disaster. It’s why the main cause of product failure and agile failure is leadership dictating outputs. A common pitfall of product teams is investing serious time and money to build before you get customer validation and clearly tie it to a. success metrics and b. user value.

Disney+’s lack of resume reminds me of the first iPhone (which didn’t have copy/paste) and the legendary stories of the golden path in the initial iPhone demo. We forget just how far many products have come.

Reid Hoffman said that if you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. Why? Because you delay your chance to learn and lean into giving users value.


Disney did it. Apple did it. We can do it.

Go. Launch. Learn.

What I published


ryanseamons-1922613Ryan Seamons @ryanseamons

@lissijean Many people drastically underestimate the time required to change team habits.

ryanseamons-1922613Ryan Seamons @ryanseamons

@sehlhorst @johncutlefish @Steven_Haines Better to find out quickly you are wrong than take a long time to find out.

The best teams assume most of their guesses will be wrong.

What have you been learning about lately?


Check out past editions

About the Author

Ryan Seamons
writes about more human approaches to modern management.

Join Patterns for weekly ideas about making work better.

Also check out Manager School to become a better manager.