In his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
, author and entrepreneur Scott Adams reflects on his experience trying dozens of business ideas, and writes that a key predictor of a product’s ultimate success is the level of enthusiasm it generates in the beginning.
For Adams, this is true even when the quality of the initial product is poor: a reliable predictor is customers clamoring for the bad versions of a product even before good versions are invented. Over time, the products that inspire excitement evolve to have quality too.
He cites The Simpsons as an example of this tendency.
When the show launched it 1989, it was immediately a national phenomenon – even though the original artwork “looked amateurish” and the writing was bad slapstick.
Adams recalls that wherever he went, the show came up, with people asking: Did you see it?
The Simpsons was a hit despite its surface quality, and it grew to become of the most creative and influential shows of all time.
As Adams puts it, the pattern he’s noticed is things that will someday work out start out well; things that will never work start out badly and stay that way.
Overcoming obstacles is an expected and unavoidable part of being successful, but you shouldn’t stick with an idea for too long out of a misguided sense that persistence in itself is a virtue.
If the first commercial version of your work doesn’t excite anyone to action, you may want to switch to something else.
On the other hand, if your work inspires enthusiasm and some action from initial customers, “get ready to chew through some walls”: you might have something worth fighting for.