As CEO and founder of the hot new social media app Hang w/ and an entrepreneur who has built and architected over 100 mobile apps, I have a piece of advice that can make or break your success: Hurry up!

Here’s why being fast and first to market is critical:

1. The market will help you fine tune the product itself.

When we first develop a platform, there are plenty of features that various members of our team think are “crucial” for the platform’s success.  We create long lists of features and functions and have marathon sessions about what the platform could become someday, but that doesn’t mean we implement them all at once.

Rather than wait for the long list of elements to be fine-tuned and finessed, we release apps to the App Store before many of them had even been implemented.

To our surprise, the market reacts in ways completely differently from what we expect.

For example, when we believed that archiving videos and access to archived videos would be a key feature of a new video platform we held back the release for weeks on an app while we implemented it. We almost held back from the release for additional weeks (or months) while it was being fine-tuned.

Thank goodness we didn’t. The initial users didn’t see much use for archiving or accessing their archived videos. They barely used those functions at all. Had we spent any more time keeping the product off the market for archives, we would have lost valuable time in which we learned what was important to our users.

Instead, we should have shifted our focus to concentrate on more ways to share videos across social media. By listening to users, we learned that users do not only want to share live video within the confines of the app. We had been taking steps to limit the amount of exposure of live-streamed videos, but learned to adapt and create more ways to share the videos. The users wanted the opposite of what we believed they had wanted.

We set to work almost immediately and added more options for sharing that included Facebook and Twitter and via the web.

Today, it seems obvious that social sharing should be a critical part of all apps. But on launch day, it wasn’t even on our radar.

2. Early adopters will be your most ardent supporters

It seems odd that the early users who had to put up with the bugs and the challenges would be the ones who support a product the most. But that’s very much the case.

These are the early users that had to deal with problems like the “black screen” in which broadcasts would just stop working, or the search bug, in which you couldn’t find certain users in a database.

We learned to turn the negatives into a way to build a community.

We asked users frequently to submit their bugs and findings. We communicated with them and let them know when their feedback was implemented or addressed. We let them know they were part of something that’s never been done before, and we thanked them for bearing with us while we created something brand new.

Today, many of our first users of apps are our most active. They feel a sense of personal ownership and pride in what we’ve created.

3. If you don’t, someone else will

For those of us who toil every day to bring a great idea to life, one of the biggest fears is waking up in the morning and discovering that someone else is working on it too.

If your idea is good enough, it will happen eventually. The only way to deal with that fear is to roll up your sleeves and get ahead of it.

You don’t need to be perfect or have it all figured out, but you do need to get started. After all, you can be the inventor who’s making the other guy lose sleep by getting to market first.

There’s a long road between imagining the next great product and knowing you’ve perfected it. Take the first step to success and get on that road today!