Customers don't know what they want. There's plenty of good psychology research that shows that people are not able to accurately predict how they would behave in the future. So asking them, 'Would you buy my product if it had these three features?' or 'How would you react if we changed our product this way?' is a waste of time. They don't know.
Science and vision are not opposites or even at odds. They need each other. I sometimes hear other startup folks say something along the lines of: 'If entrepreneurship was a science, then anyone could do it.' I'd like to point out that even science is a science, and still very few people can do it, let alone do it well.
There is no greater country on Earth for entrepreneurship than America. In every category, from the high-tech world of Silicon Valley, where I live, to University R&D labs, to countless Main Street small business owners, Americans are taking risks, embracing new ideas and - most importantly - creating jobs.
I would say, as an entrepreneur everything you do - every action you take in product development, in marketing, every conversation you have, everything you do - is an experiment. If you can conceptualize your work not as building features, not as launching campaigns, but as running experiments, you can get radically more done with less effort.
The mistake isn't releasing something bad. The mistake is to launch it and get PR people involved. You don't want people to start amping up expectations for an early version of your product. The best entrepreneurship happens in low-stakes environments where no one is paying attention, like Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room at Harvard.