Pros and Cons of Build In Public

Here's a quick summary for founders/creators who want to evaluate if "building in public" is right for them. Build in Public is not always easy, but when executed, the benefits are truly exponential.

PROS:

  • Many people wait until they think their product is “perfect” before launching is. The reality is: a product will never be perfect. The sooner one starts sharing their work with the world, the sooner they can get feedback from actual target users. — Anne Laure Le Cunff
  • The secret ingredient is vulnerability. If you can show that you sometimes don't know what to do, if things will work out, or if you're making mistakes, people will start trusting you. A relationship built on trust is so much stronger than a relationship built on admiration or imitation. If you can genuinely relate with your audience as other people on your level, good things will follow. — Arvid Kahl
  • Publishing in public exposes you to so many different perspectives that you would never have had access to. There are times where you will need to learn how to sort through the feedback, but your product is only built through iteration, and building in public allows iteration at an exponential pace. — Brandon Zhang
  • It's storytelling. And stories are powerful. — Dru Riley

CONS:

  • It can sometimes be anxiety-inducing to put your work into the world before you feel it is ready, but it becomes easier over time. And, of course, I would probably not recommend it for industries where intellectual property is crucial. — Anne Laure Le Cunff
  • There is always a risk of sharing too much of your business. I wrote about this on my blog, and it boils down to where you are in your journey. If you're just getting started, being transparent is very helpful, as you get a few more eyes on the business. At some point, this can turn into a disadvantage. You've validated a lot of things painfully for your business, and then someone takes all your knowledge you have so graciously shared and builds a competitor. This can hurt a bit. Depending on how much of a moat you have, this might also be an actual danger to your livelihood. We chose only to share our MRR figures instead of giving other people access to the actual underlying data, like churn, retention, plans. That solitary number was good enough for us to be acquired. — Arvid Kahl
  • Some of your ideas may cause others to lash out and criticize you. If you want to build in public, you have to be able to withstand some level of public critique. Although, you can mostly brush it off, it is jolting at the start when what you thought was a great idea becomes weaponized. — Brandon Zhang
  • It may not be for you if you don't have a moat. Or if your prospective customers or employees don't care. Trends #0015 (Open Startups) breaks this down. — Dru Riley


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