Launch with Bugs

37signals is the poster-child for recurring-revenue SaaS apps. They have several blockbuster successes, most notably Basecamp. The newest version of Basecamp launched in 2012. How many bugs do you think 37signals fixed in the first three months after launch? Take a guess. I’ll wait.

Did you say zero? Buzzz. Way wrong. Did you say less than ten? Buzz. Wrong again. Did you say less than one hundred? Sorry, wrong again. lists 116 “bug fix” related changes to Basecamp in the first three months after launch. To all software developers, that is not surprising. There’s no such thing as bug-free software. But to too many small SaaS startup owners, knowing that there were a 100+ “bugs” out there would prevent launch. Don’t let it! Even with bugs, just launch that baby already.



  1. Plus, it’s only a bug if you log it.

  2. If your no embarrassed by version 1.0 you didn’t release it early enough

  3. i think you’re leaning too heavily on one example.

    we all accept some degree of iterative development, which entails some tacit understanding that the goal line is a grey zone….BUT…i think the web has changed since basecamp was rolled out and the stakes are now higher.

    in 2013, unfinished, unpolished broken junk will be immediately recognized as such and unless you are *really* charting new territory that makes these imperfections tolerable (i.e. google glass etc), your creation will just be tossed on to the growing scrap heap of trash.

  4. how about apple maps?

    alas, deadlines are closer than you think

  5. Ant Cosentino · · Reply

    it’s important to outline a MVP – and if you think this particular iteration of your app fulfills it, then i’d go ahead and release it.

    of course, i wouldn’t do this for every piece of software written 😛

  6. I just released my latest project after 6 months of work. I posted for review on hackernews and boy did they find some bugs. I’m at version 0 and and completely embarrassed, I guess it is a good start.

  7. Totally agree. But as Brad C says, it can’t be junk. There is a fine line I think, which is where the skill of entrepreneurship heavily comes into play.

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