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Why Launching a Product is Like Training for the Olympics

David Politis

July 30, 2012

2 minute read

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2012 London Olympics Games

Image via www.london2012.com

Last Friday marked the beginning of the Olympics, two and a half weeks of the the greatest competition known to man and my hands down favorite sporting event. For many athletes, the 2012 London Olympic Games are the culmination of years of training and sacrifice and in many ways, the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics mirror the preparations of a company gearing up for a product launch.

Training

Leading up to the Olympics, an athlete will train obsessively and almost incessantly. He alters his diet, refines his technique and trains harder than ever. He develops relationships with his future teammates and scopes out the competition.

Over the last six months my team and I went to painstaking lengths to develop and produce the first version of our newest product. We put in extra hours, sacrificed our weekends…I even went on a special juice diet, all in the hopes of putting out the best product possible.

Trials

An athlete won’t make it to the Olympics without first participating in qualifying competitions. Throughout Nationals, Worlds and of course the Olympic Trials, an athlete is scrutinized and judged. Athletes and their coaches watch hours of competition and practice footage, constantly looking for ways to gain an edge, all in the hopes of getting the athlete to the Olympics.

We put our product through a similarly rigorous process with two rounds of private beta testing. Gathering criticism during this process was enlightening and sometimes heart-wrenching, particularly after the amount of time and effort we put into building our product, but just as an athlete must refine his technique to improve, we needed to refine our product after listening to the people we judge ourselves against, our customers.

The Opening Ceremony

The first night of the Olympics, the Opening Ceremony, introduces the Olympian to the world stage. His team is solidified, the strategy for the next two weeks is clear and media attention increases significantly. The athlete has put in the work necessary to succeed and now it’s time to focus, concentrate and stick to the plan.

Following beta testing, our product was ready for a wider audience. In this stage, we reached out to press, cemented marketing strategies and focused on spreading the word. From a technical side, the majority of the work was done, and it was time to follow through on the strategy and promote our product as best as we could.

The Big Game

After years of hard work and dedication, an athlete’s career rests on his Olympic performance, and often times on the outcome of one race. A perfect performance at the Olympic Games is the culmination of hard work, years of training and a bit of luck.

The two weeks of competition at the Olympics are similar to the first two weeks of our product launch. We’re currently in our second week and have seen our hard work pay off…for now. But unlike an athlete who may retire after one go at the Olympics, our product will have to continually evolve and improve to meet our standards, those of our competitors, and most importantly, the needs of our customers.

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