Most of the time you have the opportunity to try something, get it to 80% complete and roll out a prototype for market testing. Once you collect some feedback you can go back to the garage, fix it up a bit and re-release (hopefully capturing a huge chunk of market share). Lather, rinse, repeat – the process leads to a better outcome.
But sometimes the luxury of iteration isn’t available. Sometimes you need to be perfect when you do your initial roll-out. Either you need overnight success right out the door or it’s such a limited market that you can’t afford a flop. This is where risk/reward conversations were born.
Putting yourself and your idea out there at the point of ultimate vulnerability and possible failure is high risk. If it doesn’t work you can’t go back and try again. That’s it, the shot is over. But if it does work…..if you do succeed against the odds….if the market does what you expected and gets your idea immediately – that’s where you find stardom.
The hardest part is knowing when those rare instances exist where you can’t iterate. Lots of people think that they are facing that situation but few of them really are. Pride or ego is never a good reason to not be allowed to iterate.