I sell some audiobooks through Audible (owned by Amazon). My first book went live last September, it makes about $300 a month, and I still have yet to receive a single payment from Amazon.
Because Amazon’s form to provide your banking info doesn’t work. Literally.
I entered my account number & my routing number, clicked saved, refreshed the page to double check and… it was all gone.
I did this about 3 times a month, every month, just to see if I had gone crazy or if it was a one-off error. Nope. Always broken.
The first version of my first app looked terrible. I wouldn’t show it to people in person because I was embarrased.
But I put it on the App Store, and the first month it made $1,500, or 3x what it cost to make.
Have you read Hatching Twitter? Fantastic book about the history of Twitter from formation until IPO. Not only is it well written, but it’s largely accurate, according to multiple Twitter investors.
The biggest takeway from the book is that behind the scenes, Twitter was a shitshow. But they absolutely nailed the product.
So much so that it’s largely unchanged from when it launched 8 years ago.
Why does any of this matter?
Amazon’s business did fine while this was broken. My app did fine when I launched, even though it hardly passed as a solid 1.0. And Twitter of course is one of the top 10 iconic technologies companies and isn’t even a decade old.
These examples of awfulness passed because they did nail the few things that mattered.
Amazon is great at selling my audiobooks.
My app made users happy because I was the first to pay attention to them.
And Twitter had a practically perfect product out the gate.
All that other stuff that we tend to think matters (e.g. how the product looks, getting coverage on HN or TC) doesn’t, as long as you get the most important things right.
Don’t worry about being perfect. Just do your thing, and do it well!
Say hi on Twitter!