Priors and posteriors

There is a fundamental difference between version 1.0 of any thing and any subsequent version. In the version 1.0, you usually don’t need to give any reasons for your choices. The focus in that case would be in getting the version ready, and you can get away with whatever assumptions you want to feel like. Nobody will question you because first of all they want to see your product out, and not delay it with “class participation”. The prior thus gets established.

Now, for any subsequent version, if you suggest a change, it will be evaluated against what is already there. You need to do a detailed scientific analysis into the switching costs and switching benefits, and make a compelling enough case that the change should be made. Even when it is a trivial change, you can expect it to come under a lot of scrutiny, since now there is a “prior”, a “default” which people can fall back on if they don’t like what you suggest.

People and products are resistant to change. Inertia exists. So if you want to make a mark, make sure you’re there at version 1.0. Else you’ll get caught in infintely painful bureaucratic hassles. And given the role of version 1.0 into how a product pans out (in the sense that most of the assumptions made there never really get challenged) I think the successful products are those that got something right initially, which made better assumptions than the others.

One thought on “Priors and posteriors”

  1. This post is very relevant in the context of scientific research. A paradigm change in the way people think about a phenomenon requires a revolution. Ref.: The structure of scientific revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. An interesting read.

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