My Chicago-based startup, The Point, helps people start campaigns for collective actions of all kinds, from organizing a poker game to boycotting a multinational corporation. We’ve been fortunate so far, enjoying steady growth, happy users, and money in the bank. (In February, we raised a $4.8 million round of venture funding from New Enterprise Associates). But hindsight is 20/20 and any entrepreneur, given the chance, would do some things differently.
In our case, we spent nine months developing extra features to accommodate our grand vision instead of focusing on what our users would really need. This cost us precious time, delaying our launch, originally planned for June 2007, to November of that year. Even after launch, the costs lingered — maintaining the extraneous features was a time-consuming distraction from improving the parts of The Point that people were actually using.
Thankfully, we caught on to what I call the curse of “vision overload” — when you put your vision ahead of your users — and quickly reversed course.