Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just Ship IT! A Startup Mantra to Practice
Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just Ship IT! A Startup Mantra to Practice

Working on our new and updated Xceleration Labs marketing website (see Xceleration Labs), I was reminded of the importance of "Just Ship IT!"

New Xceleration Website -
Often easier said then done, especially when advising startup teams on their websites.

When it came time for Xceleration Labs to update our own website, we nearly forgot all of the basics to website design, execution and launch. But in the end as we were reminded by our technical lead, Jonathan Shieh, we really need to "Just Ship IT!" Get it out to the marketplace, get feedback as well as use analytic tools such as google analytics to see how the website is being received, especially by our target users.

The Xlab Nerd asking,
"Being honest and asking yourself."
As it stands, we've been able to ship only a portion of our marketing website. Good enough to go and get the basic message across. Thus far, the website works for its intended informational purposes.

A Side Bar about websites. 
Perhaps it's fairly self evident, but a website is merely an extension of your marketing, branding, NOT your entire effort. It is intended to be a portion of your marketing plan. In addition, one of the first things to decide is the intent of the website. Are you creating a website to sell product? To provide information? To allow your target audience to contact you?

In Xceleration Labs' case, we fully realize that no one is going to do a google search for "Xceleration" in an effort to find boutique business consultancy to help their startup venture. More likely our target audience may have met up with one of the team (such as Mitch de Leon in the Nordics), received a business card, and will want to learn more - one of the ways being, a quick peruse of the marketing website. A secondary one is this Xceleration Labs blog, which has the new address of

Lessons Learned

1. Marketing websites are tough to create and execute, IF you don't have a "brand book" or specific "brand aesthetic" in place. What typically ends up happening is potentially what happened to us. A literal goulash of design elements, layouts and graphics. Until we finally settled on the design that we shipped. There are certainly easier ways to do things. . .

Augus and Haichen on the job!

One of the things that Xceleration Labs can boast now is our design support capabilities. We have Haichen Hsu and Augus Chen - two excellent designers, AND both have different styles. This coupled with my own, at worst, "indecision" and at best, "letting others contribute," led to some initial "too many cooks" or "Frankenstein" website. In other words, the design had too many disparate and incongruous elements.
Sample Selected/Sample Work of Jibao Service that both our designers worked on. . . 
That turned around when two things happened.

a. I paid attention to my own inner voice as to what I needed/wanted/desired in the website.
b. Haichen focused on contributing her specific strengths, which were graphic elements (such as the wonderful Xlab Nerd character) and photos.

2. It seems self evident, but nevertheless a good reminder to focus on attracting a specific target audience. (Remember the website isn't meant for you!) One who would a. enjoy the graphic elements, especially the Xlabs Nerd characters and color touches, b. One who would appreciate the, at times, irreverent humor.

3. Just Ship IT! At times, an effort of wanting to have the perfect product, perfect website, perfect little character graphic, will get in the way of shipping and taking the risk of putting it out there. After all, are we not always talking about agile and lean, so when there's something ready, don't be afraid of shipping it!

Stay tuned for more updates as they become available, and do NOT be afraid to ship it!