Smallest of launches
One week and three days after leaving my day job, our team has finally launched a very very small beta product to test out our idea. We have launched it to no more than 60 people at this time, mostly our close friends and family, to iron out the kinks of the operations. So grateful to the small team that packs a punch who made this happen.
So how did we pull off a launch so fast? It’s simple, by not really building a product. We built the bare-bones needed to make it feel like a website that might eventually be the product. After we arrived at hypothesis and a problem that we saw in the world, next thing that we did was to find some competitors. There is always competition and it’s always good to study what they are doing well and what not so well. Next we worked out a product workflow and figured out how our product might work. The product will eventually have full features but for now it’s a manually run program.
Weekly founder chats
We still have so many problems to tackle and still need a real product to build. Each week I meet with a few founders who are ahead of us and in some respects our mentors. Some are very experienced like Tom Patterson, who has launched several startups before, while others like Huong, are seeing early signs of progress (Huong Tran is the CEO of Magpie.com). The thing I love about these meetings is that each one of them is friendly, warm and above all very helpful. Mostly I hear congratulations on taking the leap and some words of wisdom about how to manage your own psychology over the next few months.
While some chats are with other founders, most of people I’ve been talking to are our potential customers. These chats are super valuable and we gather meaningful insights about our hypothesis and the problem we are trying to solve. Best customers are ones who are in so much pain today that they are willing to pay for a product if it existed.
Lots of learning
When you get a new job, there is ramp up or learning curve that you must climb. You may have a manger who helps you get through this and there is plenty of room to make mistakes and learn. As an employee, the good news is that when you make mistakes you’ll find out pretty soon in some sort of manager check-in or review session.
When you are running your own company however, you have to make your own calls on where where you are falling short and where you are seeing success. Even with the 30 years of combined experience between all three founders there is sometimes doubt about what is #1 priority at the moment and what you should be working on in the very near term.
These are my updates from week two. Till next time.