Don’t wait for hindsight

When I was twelve I discovered a life-changing album in Nebraska, Springsteen’s 6th studio release sandwiched in between The River and Born in the USA. A complete departure and huge risk at that time in his career, Nebraska is as well-known for the music as it is for the legend behind it.

Springsteen recorded it in his home in Colts Neck, New Jersey by himself. After months of carrying the cassette of his recording around, trying to find the sound that did the songs justice with his band, he chose to release the album using the recording on the cassette itself. I won’t spoil the movie but the legend was created.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see that this record needed to be released as it was. No other combination that I’ve heard recorded or live captures the meaning of the songs with more impact than the originals. What struck me was the willingness to ship what was perceived at the time as an imperfect album.

Entrepreneurs and founders and creatives struggle with this type of decision all the time. We wait, we build, we stall, we add features — we do everything except ship.

Nebraska was released because it was complete from the moment the last track was recorded. It took Springsteen all that time to come to that realization and the rest is history. The album was a critical success and cemented him as one of our generation’s greatest story tellers.

So many of us wait too long to start or release. Something holds us back and it’s only in hindsight after the release or launch that we realize waiting was not necessary, that you/it were ready all along.