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I agree, ultimately you never know if your effort was wasted until the prototype is made and you know if it's successful or not which is the only purpose of a prototype.

> It's not that my first attempt was rubbish, it's that I didn't understand the problem as well as I did the second time

I think thats too soft, I know my first attempt will be rubbish so I intend it to be so. To me the point of a prototype is to help you learn the problem more than to solve it.

If you plan to keep your prototype if it works out then I think you have missed a trick, a prototype should aim to fail quickly.

If your prototype is useful then I think it fails its point as a prototype.

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