Some problems need to ripen before they can be solved.

Slow down, you crazy child

And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile

It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two

When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Vienna, Billy Joel

James Cameron had the idea for 2009’s Avatar before 1997’s Titanic. Yet it took over a decade of waiting for the visual effects industry to catch up so that the movie could be made in the way he wanted.

Figma Branches was launched in 2021, but the first version of it was built 5 years before that. The team couldn’t get it right at the time, so it was removed. It took 5 more years for the timing to be right and the team to be good enough to build it.

Closer to home, I’ve been wanting to offer a sandbox demo for the full Newsletter Glue plugin for over a year now. But it always seemed like a daunting project. Most out of the box sandbox demo software is really expensive. And neither me nor my co-founder, Ahmed, knew how to build a demo ourselves using a WordPress multisite.

Sorry to interrupt, but if you’re enjoying this post, you’ll likely enjoy future ones too. Subscribe here so you don’t miss out.

New issues of Failing Forward will be sent to you every whenever.

Thanks for subscribing.

Then, one day, after I was once again weighing the pros and cons of building it, I challenged myself to build out the fastest, hackiest version of a demo possible.

I remembered Vikas had just launched Instawp and messaged him on Post Status. It was a very new product and I didn’t know anything about it. But I figured I’d give it a go.

To my surprise, he replied instantly, and helped me get set up right away.

Within a few hours, I had a sandbox demo live on my site.

A full year of thinking about this problem. Solved in a day.

My journey so far is littered with anecdotes like this.

At any given time, I have a hundred different projects looming overhead. Biding their time. Ripening.

✅ I’ve been meaning to update old support docs for a year. Last week, I hired someone to do it. It’ll be done by this week.

✅ I’ve been struggling to get user feedback for months. Last month I sent out an email survey on a whim and received a ton of excellent constructive feedback.

All this to say…

It’s tempting to rely on frameworks, principles, or playbooks when building a product. You want to know the model answer right away so you can make progress.

But sometimes you just need to wait it out. Maybe the right tool hasn’t been built yet. Or there are a few more rungs in the knowledge ladder you need to learn, before you can reach the insight that allows for a break through.

Some problems need to ripen before they can be solved.