It doesn’t have to be perfect to launch

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." - Salvador Dali

In the season one finale of The CUInsight Experience I talked some about the motivation behind starting the podcast and the learning that took place after the first episode was live for the world to hear. I wanted to dig deeper into the idea that something doesn’t have to be perfect, or even done, to launch.

Doing something new is exciting to me. But getting hung up on “perfect” can stop any new project dead in its tracks, or at the very least delay it significantly. The idea of “good enough” can cause a myriad of emotions and self doubt inside ourselves. But one thing I’ve found over the years since David and I started is you truly never know if an idea is good or bad until it’s in the hands of your intended users/readers/listeners.

Below are four lessons I’ve learned on trying something new:

Simplify your vision:
It’s natural for us to take any idea and envision what it could be. How big it could get. We often start thinking of the end result while we should be focusing on the beginning. I was thinking about ideas for the season finale, our 100th guests, and how to celebrate 100,000 downloads before the first episode of the podcast. Slow your roll, tiger. You can’t have a finale without episode one.

Know your why (and be able to explain it to others):
Our motivation for starting was connecting the credit union community digitally. My motivation for the podcast was to share the conversations I’ve been lucky enough to have (many over cocktails at a hotel bar) with thought leaders while running around credit union conferences over the past decade. I thought this was something worth sharing. I believed we could all learn from the smart people who make our movement great. My “why” was to share their knowledge with a broader audience. My “why” was not to pitch products/events or host webinars. 

State your commitment to the project:
I believe this is important on a couple different levels and often overlooked. I committed to recording ten episodes of The CUInsight Experience podcast. After each recording I was critical of what I didn’t like and what I should do more of. I solicited feedback from the guests on the show about the experience. I was a sponge to the feedback I received from early listeners. And then I made adjustments for the next episode. Wash-Rinse-Repeat after each episode for the first ten.

After the first ten episodes I took a hard look at the project. It was time to decide if it was worth doing or if my energy was better focused elsewhere. This can be a difficult decision. Many times over the history of David and I have had to make the decision to pull the plug on an idea that didn’t land. Often we took too long to make this decision. Hanging on “thinking” something will change. In hindsight that is a wasted effort that you can direct somewhere else. Don’t get married to your idea.

Luckily for the podcast, it was being well received. I committed to recording a full season of 52 episodes. We made more of an investment to increase the quality. And I made this commitment knowing the podcast would continue to evolve and we would take another hard look at it at the end of season one.

Never stop learning and growing:
The launch is just the beginning. It’s not your finished product. I think of the first year of any project as the beta. A beta for the world to see. My chance to get real world feedback. To listen. To continue learning. To find ways to improve. To spend hours to hone your craft/product. To look at the evolution and where the next improvements/growth opportunities may be.

One last piece of advice that is often difficult to do. Smile. Be grateful. Appreciate the people who have been on this journey with you. Thank early adopters. Take the time to smell the roses along the way. Find the good in what you’ve created. Pat yourself on the back. You just created something that didn’t exist and some people seem to be digging it. You should be proud. Nice work. 

I’ll end with an ask of you, our readers/listeners. We would greatly appreciate it if you would subscribe, give a 5-star rating (and even better a review) on the old Apple Podcasts machine (or your favorite podcast player). It helps us give the show more visibility in a crowded world and allows us to better share the credit union love. And if you don’t think it’s worth 5-Stars, forget I asked and just shoot me a message on Twitter @CUInsight and let me know what we can do better. 

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Randall Smith

Randall Smith

Randall Smith is the co-founder of, the host of The CUInsight Experience podcast, and a bit of a wanderlust. As one of the co-founders of CUInsight he looks ... Web: Details