5 Pre-launch F**k-ups and How to Survive Them
Before we delve into the dirt, let’s just embrace the moment… insydo is finally live (beta version)! Check us out and let us know what you think… We could do with your feedback.
Quite frankly, it would be so much easier to write-up a rose-tinted reflection of the last 18 months, but I’d only be kidding myself. Truth is, it has been one heck of a journey, and there were a handful of key f**k-ups that led to our six-month delay in launch…
1. Trying to reinvent the wheel…
insydo’s all about scoping out the city, but when you spend 9 months building a brainchild called ‘Cognito’ (a research tool) rather than building the product itself, you have to admit your own mistake: panic planning.
If I had spent an additional day looking at what’s already out there, I’d have foundFormdesk back in 2014, rather than on my honeymoon in 2015. Turns out, there was an entire team of dudes sitting in Amsterdam who had already built a tailor-made solution to my problem. You’d be surprised what techie services already exist on Product Hunt — use them.
2. Becoming reliant on Freelancers…
You hire them for 3 weeks, but before you know it, it’s been 3 months. An extortionately expensive 3 months. And it’s tricky territory because once you’ve been exposed to a techie talent pool like TopTal, it’s hard to revert back to the lengthy, paper-chasing recruitment process. Especially in a start-up when everything needs to be done yesterday.
When the sh*t hit the fan back in March, I made the call to out-source major projects… to Russia. In the process, my team and I were living in a late-night parallel world of Skype calls and Slack wars. In hindsight, it was a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and it simply wasn’t sustainable. ‘Hot fixes’ (website malfunctions) happen every 5 minutes and basic communication is key, so unless you’re out-sourcing isolated projects, your issues are likely to get lost in translation. Your product might be digital, but face-to-face interaction is a must.
3. Striving for perfection…
While Iron Man is arrogant, Super T (that’s my alter-ego by the way) is extremely impatient… And I’m always paying the price for it. In fact, we probably would have launched three months ago had I not overcomplicated things. Having X amount of features and changing an icon to blue (and then back to red) may seem important, but you have to be realistic with team targets and time frames.
Stick with a solid base and work towards it; everything else should go on the wish list. What’s addictive and exciting about the digital world is that it’s constantly evolving; you’ll never be done. Get your product out there and track user behaviour via Google Analytics. After all, until launch, you’re making a lot of assumptions.
4. Believing you’ll go viral…
In Episode 2, I shared the idea behind insydo, the idea behind the name and the need to build the brand. But, frankly speaking, our social media presence became a bullet point at the bottom of our to-do list. It’s worth remembering that whimsical notions of thousands of people following, liking and sharing your content are unrealistic. Shout out to all the bloggers and vloggers out there making it look easy. Truth is, it’s a time-consuming process; and you can’t expect people to miraculously follow you. You’re going to have to invest time in it early on.
If you can’t find the marketing means within your budget, you need to reach out to your network and share the story behind your brand. If you’ve already left it til the last minute, it’s time to get acquainted with Facebook’s ‘Backdate’ button.
5. Harboring negativity…
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is underestimating the power of positivity and, consequently, the power of people.
Your company will become the bi-product of the people you surround yourself with. If you find yourself battling with negative attitudes, remember: it’s contagious and will ultimately kill the soul of your start-up. Filter out the villains and build a team of go-getters, a team of real-life smilers, a team of hereos.
“A team of people who share that conviction can change the world” (Phil Coulson)
You’ll be glad when it all comes together; it should look a little something like this.