This is Anti-pattern—thoughts on programming and whatnot by Brandon Weiss.

Ship Now, Not Later

March 4th, 2013

A few days ago I shipped a small project I’ve been working on called Arrival. It estimates arrival times for Apple products based on previous release cycles. Embarrassingly, this is something I’d been thinking about for the better part of two years, but it took until a few days ago for me to make it happen.

I first had the idea a few years back after I stumbled onto the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide and was shocked at how poorly it was designed and how terribly it visualized the data. I was sure I could do much better. So I spent a few days cranking out a rough version that was functional but lacked an amazing visual design. And that’s where I hit a wall. I think great design is imperative and there was no way I was going to ship a product that didn’t look amazing.

I spent the next two years sitting on it while I emailed designers to try and find someone to create the perfect design. Many expressed interest but most were ultimately too busy. Twice someone said yes and started working on it but dropped off as other things came up. Eventually I just gave up and shelved it, figuring I’d just meet the right person to work on it with eventually.

A month or two ago my friend Andy Keil reached out to me with an idea for an event called FinishUp Weekend. It’s the antithesis of Startup Weekend, the premise being that starting is easy, finishing is hard, so instead of starting something new let’s finish up the projects we already have. He asked if I’d be interested in going and I told him absolutely, and that I knew just what I was going to work on.

Two months later I flew down to Austin, met Andre Jurgensen (co-founder of Handsome) at the event and jammed it out over the next two days. I would love to say that the moment I told Andy I was going I had an epiphany and realized waiting for the perfect design was ridiculous, but the truth is, all through the weeks leading up to the event and even for a little bit while I was down there I debated whether or not I should ship it. It wasn’t until I met Josh Long, who came down to participate in the event and gave a small talk about Execute, a book he wrote—in three fucking days—that I realized how asinine I had truly been. If I’d waited to ship it until it was as perfect as I wanted it to be, I would never have shipped it at all.

The moment after I shipped Arrival was the best I’ve felt in a long time, and I already usually feel pretty good. The high I got from shipping it is better than any food I’ve ever eaten, any drink I’ve ever tasted, or any drug I’ve ever done. The first day Arrival received 30,000 hits, three days later it has received over 60,000 hits, and the feedback has been nothing but positive. If you have an unfinished project that hasn’t shipped yet because you’re still perfecting it and it doesn’t quite meet your expectations, remember that you’re the only thing standing in your own way. Stop fucking around and ship it.