Quality Trumps Speed

Interesting perspective from Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick reported by Ars:

During a conference call accompanying today’s earnings report, Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick attributed the company’s inability to reach its revenue and profit goals last year to “slippage”—what you or I might simply call “delaying games.” He insisted multiple times that putting off marquee titles until they’re really fully ready is the best way for the company to ensure long-term growth, even though such delays might sometimes lead to disappointing-looking numbers in the short term.

He’s right. These days software (both the printed disks and the web) have shifted from a model of pushing a quality product out the door to pushing something out the door as quick as possible. The reality is customers only care about the quality products.

Truth is customers generally never know how long it took you to build something. It could be 10 years, it could be an hour. They just look at the quality and utility of what you’ve done to make their decision. If you’re short on time it’s because you’re too late to put a vision together, or you’re short sighted with your product. Shipping a poor product because of those failures doesn’t make up for it. Fixing strategy and vision to give enough lead time to construct it is the proper fix.

I can’t think of anything that succeeded because it quickly went through development. Ever. Even being first to market doesn’t guarantee success. Friendster went bust. Yahoo went bust. Customers have little loyalty beyond a few cult elitists (Apple fans, BMW drivers for example). I can think of quality products “years in the making” that succeeded. Being first doesn’t mean you win. Being the best means you win.

Perhaps it’s time to stop fearing becoming the next Duke Nukem’ Forever.

2 replies on “Quality Trumps Speed”

This is an interesting point, because I think we’re starting to come a bit full-circle on this.

A lot of companies have started down the road of pushing **** out and fixing it later, because that’s easy to do with the Web (though, it’s not limited there; I think the main reason Chrome, and by extension, Firefox care so much about totally-silent-updates is so they can join this party).

What’s interesting to me is that mobile forces people to “remember” all of these lessons; the AppStore, for instance, is a natural forcing function to actually not-releasing-garbage all the time, and thinking about things like update fatigue again.

I, for one, think it’s a good thing, but it’s also interesting to watch the the industry react to re-learning the things its known for decades. Again.

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